AND SHE WAS LOVE
PAINTINGS BY AKINDELE JOHN
This exhibition is facilitated in partnership with Genre: Urban Arts, with special thanks to Genre’s Creative Director and Owner Nakeysha Roberts Washington, a Woodland Pattern board member.
Akindele John, born in 1995 in Ogun State, Nigeria, and currently living in Lagos, focuses his work on women from Africa and the African diaspora. He portrays them in contemplation, draping them in vibrant colors ranging from jewel tones to neon brights.
Akindele began his practice by experimenting with charcoal and liquid acrylic, media which helped him realize that figurative paintings lead us to a better understanding of ourselves as creative, interactive beings. The figures in his works gaze vividly back at us and also engage back-and-forth with one another in nonverbal negotiations.
Akindele’s paintings are distinctive in their use of loose, playful lines and the softness of his brush’s effects. His works pay particular homage to his African-Nigerian identity, with a strong focus on his gratitude for Black feminine expression and identity in African society. One striking feature of his work, for example, is how he captures nappturality, the hairstyles of Black women who have chosen to exclusively wear their hair in a natural, afro-textured state.
Over the past few years, Akindele has developed into a full-time studio artist working across a range of techniques and mediums. His mastery of figurative art brings forth the movement and moods of his subjects, and leaves viewers inspired and mesmerized.
We acknowledge that in Milwaukee we live and work on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee homelands along the southwest shores of Michigami, part of North America’s largest system of freshwater lakes, where the Milwaukee, Menominee, and Kinnickinnic rivers meet and the people of Wisconsin’s sovereign Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida, and Mohican nations remain present.
We further acknowledge the grave evil colonialism introduced to these lands through genocide as well as slavery, and also via racist and xenophobic beliefs, laws, and practices that continue to inflict harm upon Black, brown, and Indigenous lives. We honor those who have lived—and do live, now—at these intersections of identity and experience, and are committed to the active dismantling of white supremacy.
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