Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, United States20 Oct 2017 - 20 Oct 2018
For her first solo museum exhibition in New York, Toyin Ojih Odutola presents an interconnected series of portraits, chronicling the private livesand surroundings of two fictional aristocratic Nigerian families: the UmuEze Amara clan and the house of Obafemi.
Rendered life-size in charcoal, pastel, and pencil, Ojih Odutola’s figures appear enigmatic and mysterious, set against luxurious backdrops of domesticity and leisure. In tandem with the artist’s larger conceived narrative, they highlight the malleability of identity and upend assumptions about race, wealth, and class. The exhibition features a significant new body of work alongside a small selection of works made in 2016.
Ojih Odutola creates intimate drawings that explore the complexity of identification and belonging. Depicted in her distinctive style of intricate mark-making, her sumptuous compositions reimagine the genre and traditions of portraiture. They are informed by the artist’s own array of inspirations, which range from art history to popular culture to experiences of migration and dislocation. Highly attentive to detail and the nuances of space and color—whether of palette or skin—Ojih Odutola continues her examinations of narrative, authenticity, and representation.
Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined presents a significant new body of work alongside a small selection of earlier works, produced in the last year.
This exhibition is organized by Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator and Melinda Lang, curatorial assistant.