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BADRU TAOFEEK ABIODUN – Short Listed 2023 Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art

Over the coming days, The Accra Times will feature profiles of the candidates shortlisted for the 2023 Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Art. The final selection will be announced at the award ceremony organized by the Kuenyehia Trust on February 22, 2024. Note: The write-up by the artists has been left AS IS without any edits.

BADRU TAOFEEK ABIODUN (b.1983 Nigeria)

I am a multimedia artist driven by fealty to my roots, concern for the world, and unflinching zeal for art. My works comprise delicate hand embroidered textiles, paintings, and sculptures which revolve around the happenings in my immediate environment and the global landscape. They are artistic representations of the world, her people, her glories, and her problems.

Thoroughly ravishing, my works are designed to appeal to the eyes as wonderful collectibles for adornment, and to the mind as fine, effective tools of social engineering. Often challenging the sociocultural issues that birth them, they incite society bettering conversations; fixing the world one artwork at a time.

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My artistic style features constellations of several mediums and materials often mapped by patterns of the Adire Eleko fabric created by the Abeokuta people of Ogun State, Nigeria. I procure and employ any material I consider most suitable for the most perfect outcome. This fusion of Adire Eleko patterns with other materials gives my works a distinctiveness that is further enhanced by my profound use of symbolism and synecdoches to moot necessary, difficult, and often avoided social issues.

I come from Abeokuta, and as a true son from the loins of people adept at fine arts, I have grown to love and excel at art, enduring its slow and painstaking processes until I achieve the desired result. I am perpetually inspired by the consistent devotion of the Abeokuta people to the continuous creation of these patterns despite their laborious process. They are people I’m bound to in blood and artistic love, and they remain a major part of my journey. As an ode to them, and a personal reminder of the importance of assiduous devotion, I feature Adire Eleko patterns in most of my works.

Creations in portraiture dominated my early works but as I aged in life and career, I turned to less bold, less faced art. In this phase, I give my audience the chance to plant their imaginations on my works, create their desired conversations around them, and have deeper exchanges with them. As I see the world differently, I give my audience the chance to do the same. The abstract textile embroideries and installations, sculptures, and paintings I do now are a testament to this. Through these mutations of style, however, I remain clutched to the rendition of art in the most meaningful form.

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