His acclaimed London debut at TAFETA sees selected works from Tribal Marks Series I & II introducing new works from The Book of Proverbs on view at Art Clip Africa, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. Tribal Marks Series I & II represent a significant body of work exploring the practice of tribal facial markings in contemporary Nigeria. Each unique portrait displays Olatunji’s hyperrealist style, his high level of technical proficiency and attention to detail. Executed in charcoal, each large-scale work takes 4 weeks to complete. The Tribal Marks series draws from Olatunji’s extensive research into the age-old practice of facial scarifications, interactions and discussions with carriers of these marks.
The sitters in the series do not exist in reality, but are fictional characters drawn from the artist’s imagination. To realise each work, Oluatunji creates a story for each of his subjects in which personality, character, skin-type and even medical history play a part. The Book of Proverbs introduces a new direction in the practice of the self-taught artist. In this series Olatunji creates visual interpretations of age-old Yoruba proverbs, from the south-western region of Nigeria.
These oral maxims, which are passed through generations to teach historical lessons, highlight good morals, and instil social values are re-imagined as “screen based image captures from sub-titled movies” by the artist. The project continues Olatunji’s attempts to document elements of his Yoruba heritage in a contemporary language. Tribal Marks Series I marked the international emergence of an incredible young talent. Olatunji’s follow up show and his latest series of works suggest that early accolades were not misplaced. About the artist:Babajide Olatunji was born in 1989 in Okitipupa, Nigeria, and currently works as an artist in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Originally trained as a botanist, he is a self-taught artist who spent considerable personal time researching art historical movements and modes of production.