EXPLORE: Olalekan Jeyifous
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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)
“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..."
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 Shows and Reviews
A group show of commissioned works at the New York Museum of Modern Art in which “histories can be made visible.”
“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.
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 .
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
Broadnex, J. (2018, February 16) What the heck is afrofuturism? Huffpost
Lagos , Nigeria
The current economic project that Jeyifous responds to in his video “Shanty-Mega-structures of Lagos, Nigeria.”
Keywords for Instructional Themes