Working at the confluence of fashion photography and classical portraiture, young Nigerian artist Lakin Ogunbanwo creates enigmatic portraits with an erotic and subversive undertone. His subjects exist defiantly in the frame often masked by shadow, drapery and foliage. His use of vibrant flat colour and bold compositions form a more minimalist homage to the african studio photography popular in the 1960s and 70’s.
Central to Ogunbanwo’s artistic investigation, is his desire to document the culture of Lagos; expand the contemporary African visual archive; and portray self-represented African narratives. He documents the complexity of his culture using veiled portraiture and fashion as a cultural signifier, and in doing so, counteracts the West’s monolithic gaze on Africa.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1987, Ogunbanwo’s work has featured in the The New Yorker, New York Times, Vogue Italia, ID online, British GQ and Riposte Magazine, amongst others. His solo exhibitions include e wá wo mi (2019), We Must Not Be Looking (2017) and Are We Good Enough (2015) at WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town. He was also commissioned to show in the window displays of Galeries Lafayette, Paris in the Africa Now exhibition (2017). His work forms part of the public collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia and the Wedge Collection in Toronto, Canada. He has attended the MMCA Residency programmed by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. Recently, he was awarded a three-month residency in Amsterdam by the Thami Mnyele Foundation, which will take place in 2021.