EXPLORE: Olalekan Jeyifous

Note to Teachers: 
Content is suitable for all ages. Please scan all material to determine whether it is appropriate for your students.

Information and resources on this page were compiled by Jason Turner, Visual Arts Specialist at Sunset Middle School in Longmont, Colorado.

“Where is this? Is it real? Is it a video game? Can we go there?"

Quote from a seven-year-old viewer of Jeyifous’s From Cephas, J. (2021)

Olalekan Jeyifous Shanty Mega-structures, 2015.png

About

“My design practice is strongly rooted in either borrowed or invented narratives….My work embraces the natural tension between the given, experienced and imagined aspects of "place" and the ways in which it is neither wholly known nor imagined, but continuously constructed..."

https://vimeo.com/jeyifous

Overview

Olalekan Jeyifous was  trained as an architect but sees himself as a storyteller. He creates “implausible architecture” through uses drawing, collage, 3D computer models, video, public installations, and large scale public artwork. The stories told by the artwork show are inventions that reflect the past but imagine what could be including rooftops that are gardens with freshwater marshes, public transportation that resembles theme parks. His artwork uses urban spaces in the US and Nigeria to remind us that cities are designed and can be reimagined.

Artist Website 

https://jeyifo.us/

 

Social Media

Instagram

 

Twitter

 

Artist Shows and Reviews 

Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America

A group show of commissioned works at the New York Museum of Modern Art in which “histories can be made visible.”

Jay Cephas on “Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America” 

“These lush cityscapes, which seem both highly technical and rough and worn, reflect, through a kind of inverted social lens, the grave contradictions we live with today—cities of immense wealth wracked with devastating poverty; a scientifically advanced society on the brink of environmental collapse. Jeyifous is not alone in illustrating these narratives, but he frames them via a new kind of speculative fiction, one in which Black bodies not only exist within an imaginative ecological urbanism but can also shape its developing narrative.” ( Art Forum, 2021)

Selected Art Videos  by Olalekan Jeyifous  

These two videos drop the viewer into the middle of Jeyifous’s narratives and demonstrate well done 3-D animation.

Shanty-Mega-structures of Lagos, Nigeria

This video offers a glimpse into the time between now and the future we often see portrayed in movies, stylized with a smorgasbord of textures and utilities that mash together time periods. Political marginalization manifests in superstructures that offer no solution to societal disparities, merely another way to contain them in a city that struggles to embrace the future..

The work collages upon a video advertising Eko Atlantic- a development project to create a visionary luxury financial center from land  claimed from the sea in Lagos, Nigeria .

 

Mad Horse City [Moment 01]: Offline

This video, set In a digital future, when the internet is a finite resource divided and owned by class structures, while an online identity is required to have any sense purpose in the world. Disconnecting from the global network is an illegal commodity afforded by those who can pay for it.

To see all videos on Jeyifous' Vimeo site, click here

Topics for Further Inquiry

  • Afrofuturism

Broadnex, J. (2018, February 16) What the heck is afrofuturism? Huffpost

  • Lagos , Nigeria 

DW (2021) Travel Lagos: Vibrant City in Nigeria | Must-sees in One of Africa's Most Exciting Cities with @Tayo Aina

 

The current economic project that Jeyifous responds to in his video “Shanty-Mega-structures of Lagos, Nigeria.”

Keywords for Instructional Themes

Invented Narratives

Speculative fiction

Utopia/Dystopia