What began as a self-taught process from a love of scribbling, has over the years turned into a big deal and one that has brought both local and international recognition. As a process of unpacking her emotions in playful and intriguing ways, Ayanfe Olarinde has brought a broader description to the world of scribble art. In this article, we talk about Ayanfe Olarinde’s inspiring story, her scribble pen, and her ongoing London exhibition.
Who is Ayanfe Olarinde?
Ayanfe Olarinde (Born 1996) is a self-taught multimedia visual artist. She obtained a BSc. in Microbiology from the University of Lagos in 2018. Her journey into art stems from her love of scribbling, a process through which she is able to unpack her emotions in playful and intriguing ways, whilst speaking on broader issues of self-exploration as well as the stories that often are untold.
Ayanfe's forms of expression have evolved to include photography and mixed media collages, and the underlying theme through all her works is the interrogation of society and governance. She has participated in multiple group exhibitions, and her works have been written about in publications such as NowThis News, CNN, Euro News, Konbini, and RADR Africa to name a few.
In May 2022, she had her first exhibition; “Now I Know Why Birds Fly”, a showcase with pieces that reflected Ayanfe’s surreal signature motif, mixed with a kaleidoscope of intimacy, vulnerability, loss, and euphoria, and most significantly, a tribute to aesthetic beauty.
Navigating through the varied depths of her scribbling, she discovers a nexus between crooked lines, which for her, has become a skillset honed through the fiery trials of self-discovery. Through her art, she makes crooked lines into something meaningful, a metaphor that she believes relates to life and its ability to transform imperfection into beauty.
A self-proclaimed explorer, Ayanfe is always seeking new mediums and means of expression, some of which she has brought to life through her mixed paintings and photographs. Through the dynamic nature of her works, she connects her viewers to multiple perspectives on the themes addressed. Ayanfe aims, through her art, to advocate for the marginalized, raise awareness, and impact society for good.
In The Beginning, And So It Goes…
Titled In the Beginning And So It Goes…, Ayanfe’s debut solo exhibition in London offers a visual narrative of the mythological traditions of Yoruba, one of the most prominent and widely recognized cultures in Nigeria and West Africa. On display from 13 April to 6 May 2023 at the JD Mallat Gallery in London, Ayanfe’s latest project is heavily focused on telling the history of Yoruba heritage and folklore, which according to her has been manipulated with a lot of incoherent gaps.
“For Ayanfe, telling these stories of the Yoruba orishas is her way of preserving her culture’s rich history, as well as immersing herself in a learning process vital to self-discovery.” - We Present. With stories and questions that pose questions and ignite curiosity, each painting presents an opportunity for viewers to travel on a journey of discovery and enlightenment. Take a look at some of the paintings on display at the London exhibition.