Tufts of Printed Fabric Form Colorful Mixed-Media Portraits by Marcellina Oseghale Akpojotor

“Eyes on the Gold IV” (2018), 5 x 4 feet. All images courtesy of Rele Gallery, shared with permission

Using scraps of vibrant Ankara fabric, Lagos-based artist Marcellina Oseghale Akpojotor fashions intimate portraits that consider the fragmented and varied inner lives of her subjects. The intricately composed depictions rely on a cacophony of patterns arranged in loose ripples and tufts, creating a patchwork of color and texture. Although the textiles are Dutch in origin—they’re colloquially known as “African print fabrics”—they have a strong cultural significance, and by piecing together the assorted motifs, Akpojotor establishes a shared visual memory.

Set against uncluttered, domestic backdrops rendered in acrylic, the fiber-based figures are often disrupted with small spots of paint as a way to “speak to the influence our environment has in shaping us as individuals,” Akpojotor shares. “They represent the connections we have with our background and immediate society and how these often ignored elements form a part of our being.” Navigating the links between subjects and their surroundings is an ongoing concern for the artist, whose work delves into the effects of the current moment, in addition to the ways personal histories and the actions of previous generations have lasting impacts.

Akpojotor is represented by Rele Gallery, where her work will be on view later this month, and she’s currently working on pieces that explore how education affects women’s empowerment, which you can follow on Instagram. (via Women’s Art)

 

 

“Set to Flourish I” (2021), fabric and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches

“Bright bright light II” (2020), mixed media, 2 x 2 feet

“Papa’s Girl (Kesiena’s Diary)” (2021), fabric, paper, and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches

Detail of “Bright bright light II” (2020), mixed media, 2 x 2 feet

“Eyes on the Gold VI” (2018), 5 x 4 feet

“Ovoke (Kesiena’s diary)” (2019-2020), fabric and acrylic on canvas, 5 x 4 feet

“Dear Brother II” (2020), mixed media, 2 x 2 feet

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