Ayo Akinyemi (b. 1982, Lagos, Nigeria) creates multimedia works and collages characterized by hybrid figures. The artist stages a mystical universe that embraces the feminine form as a symbol for social commentary, beauty, pain and individuality. Drawing from the trilogy of women’s essence, spiritual nature and endurance in a predominantly patriarchal society, Akinyemi’s work emphasizes human liberation, cultural diversity and explores the role of spirituality in shaping identity.
Akinyemi refers to his style as “Eji-Ami” — interweaving Onaism, Uli, Nsibidi, mastering the depth of aerial and linear perspective. With an explosion of colours and repetitive lines running across each other, this visual language merges traditional Nigerian philosophies, calligraphy, graphology and the search for identity. The abstract figures are influenced by the supernatural features of Yoruba goddesses and women’s ability to procreate. Akinyemi combines these narratives to radically respond to authorities that dictate human existence.
Akinyemi’s work is rooted in art therapy and using art to develop and discover oneself. He takes viewers on a journey highlighting his aspirations and acknowledging his deepest fears. He also organises art therapy classes for children and youths, and volunteers in art-related CSR projects.
His work has been frequently included in Nigerian auctions, and used as the cover page design for Ikmat Savage, M.A Social Work, Thesis, “Child Deradicalisation: What role do UK Social Workers have in the Development of Aftercare for Children and Young People?” Middlesex University, London.