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Adejoke Tugbiyele



Artist 87 Adejoke Tugbiyele Sculptural Activism Sculpture and Performance


Adejoke Tugbiyele is an Nigerian-American, queer, black artist and advocate. Her work as an activist and visual artist spans several media, including film, sculpture and works on paper.


Known primarily for the handcrafted figures she assembles from repurposed materials, Tugbiyele's art evokes themes of sexual identity and spirituality with respect to performative aspects of traditional Yoruba culture.


In her own words: “My work is rooted in ideas of transformation – drawings, mixed media, sculpture and video that evoke the spirit of freedom regardless of one’s identity – race, gender, sexuality, spirituality and class. I also raise questions on the political economy of my materials and challenge us to rethink/discuss the historical relationship between Africa and the West.”


She examines the role of religion in defining the way we view our bodies, as well as the subversive role spirituality can play in reclamation towards healthy forms of self-love and acceptance.


Tugbiyele works with a diverse range of materials charging her work with symbolic meanings that bridge and layer historical, cultural and political ideas around race, gender and sexuality with that of class, economy, sex-politics and religion.


These materials include wire, natural fibres, fabric and wood to create intricate sculptures, which are on occasion integrated into moving performances.


She engages ideas about matriarchal forms, systems and strategies in response to patriarchal frameworks; blurring the lines between the dual nature of masculinity and femininity.he concept of duality resonates strongly in her weaving of natural and industrial materials as it dances around natural and artificial light.


Tugbiyele hopes to continue creating work that addresses complexities around the African body and how it navigates institutional structures like family, religion and the state.




"I am inspired to make work that improves the human condition at large, that addresses my cultural heritage and builds on the work of my ancestors and finally to imagine a future of equality for all regardless of race, gender, class or sexuality," she says.




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