My work explores the dual realities and logics in political constructs and systems, arriving at an inter-disciplinary concept and a three-dimensional form that vastly engages the viewer to unload and search for multiple logics in its interpretation. Within these dualities, I induce metaphorical slippages in relationships between objects and their context to advance new interpretations and expose contradictions in many conventional social structures. My visual language includes mixed media painting, new/digital media, drawing, installation, socio-political cartooning and illustration—voiced from my unmitigated queer experiences as an immigrant and memoirist.
Born at the beginning of Nigerian civil war and raised during the extravagant era of the oil boom that followed, I grew to witness the turmoil and social decadence spurred by vast resources and corruption. These seminal events and socio-economic (miss-) opportunities continue to influence socio-political discourse in my homeland and intertwined with policies in my adoptive country, the U.S. Over the years, I have seen much of my work extending the scope of this context to include internal differences and hybrid relationships from my long-standing interest in the anthropology of disciplines and systems, including but not limited to: systems of art, literature, technology, architecture, material culture, and the flora/fauna of dialogue in socio-political settings. While I enlist snippets from these fields, my work is not an unambiguous celebration or transcript of the hybrid subjects but an exploration of the diverse connections and transformations that construct my socio-political persuasions or affiliations.
My work therefore produces observations intermingled with primary emotions and personal political experiences that are basic to my growth. It unmasks salient socio-political developments in my traditional African background and connects them to related occurrences in the US. While it interrogates the material resources and mechanisms that propel our socio-political beliefs, affiliations and constructs, the central context creates exigent aversion to resource-driven policies that corrodes humane considerations. It explores the combinatorial attributes of painterly-forms, metaphorical contents, and sculptural-objects to invade the viewers’ space, thereby projecting the invasiveness of political system in our lives. The work, as in politics, subsists in its physicality, which presence and pressure infiltrates our living and continually demands unfettered attention to its narratives. Its labor-intensive construction and deconstruction process is a direct expression of modern politics as physical action and energy. While the warped and tactile structures convey the unevenness of the political terrain, the jarring visual din bursting the space expresses my personal energetic and averse response to political virulence.
In my drawings, I conceptualize and satirize the impact of political actions, affiliations, and policies in every stratum of our lives. The socio-political commentaries presented are polyglot of multiple thematic and stylistic vocabularies—exploring in contextual parodies; issues, policies, personalities, and socio-political interactions that continuously infiltrates and shapes our living. While it draws from my direct experiences as a political cartoonist, painter, and social critic, hunted by the dictatorial military government of General Sani Abacha (Nigeria) in the mid 90’s, the thematic breadth of my subjects cut across my homeland to investigate world politics in a broader perspective. My drawings converge to negate Tip O’Neil seminal dictum that “all politics are local”—for local politics and policies transcend moments and geographical partitions.
The duality of my context--public and private, Nigeria and US—constructs the complexity and 3-dimensional layers or levels of my memories, experiences, and identities. These contextual and structural interactions help to clarify the overlapping of the personal and the public; the implicit and the explicit; the hidden and the exposed; connection and disconnection; reality and fantasy—strengthened in the reality that viewers will construct their meanings and interpretations through their own experience.
Adéwálé Solomon Adénlé
Email: (504) 638 1143