Let it flow - British-Nigerian artist Adébayo Bolaji set for solo exhibition at university gallery in Hatfield

Adebayo Bolaji in the University of Hertfordshire's Art and Design Gallery in Hatfield ahead of his solo exhibition.

Adebayo Bolaji in the University of Hertfordshire's Art and Design Gallery in Hatfield ahead of his solo exhibition later this year. - Credit: Amoroso Films

A British-Nigerian artist is set to showcase his work in a major solo exhibition in Hatfield. 

UH Arts is delighted to present Adébayo Bolaji: In Pursuit of Flow at the University of Hertfordshire from October 5, 2021 to January 14, 2022.

In Pursuit of Flow brings together brand new works made specifically for the exhibition during lockdown with pieces drawn from the past five years of Bolaji’s artistic career.

This is the first time the acclaimed artist has exhibited in a university gallery.

Adébayo Bolaji with his work 'Chibok', 2016, mixed media on cotton duck canvas. 

Adébayo Bolaji with his work 'Chibok', 2016, mixed media on cotton duck canvas. - Credit: Amoroso Films

The vast space and scale presented by the Art & Design Gallery in College Lane provides an expansive playground for Bolaji and an opportunity to see his works in a new context.

Bolaji’s expressive and dynamic works, which include painting, sculpture, collage and film, are rich with references to personal history, as well as cultural notes from his Nigerian heritage and home city of London.

Curator of the exhibition, Inna Allen, said: “In Pursuit of Flow presents bold, confident and vibrant works that are quick to capture the viewer’s attention and evoke vivid responses.

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"After a rather paused period in our lives, it feels good to immerse yourself in such striking, animated works – like an explosion of the senses.”

The fluidity of movement and exaggerated forms of Bolaji’s works stem organically from his performing arts background.

The concept of flow is an important component in Bolaji’s work – encouraging a world of experimentation, imagination and process.

He has created new works for the Hatfield exhibition that focus on the sense of flow and the change in an individual’s personal journey in life.

Adébayo Bolaji, Trojan, 2020, found materials, 237x94x205cm. 

Adébayo Bolaji, Trojan, 2020, found materials, 237x94x205cm. - Credit: Amoroso Films

The works can be seen as autobiographical, reflecting on where we are as a society right now.

Bolaji’s “dialogue between the internal and external world” is also evident in the film works and poems displayed in the exhibition.

He says: “Let me be clear, one is not going to find a set of works that are being dictatorial in their message saying ‘oh, look, here is an artist talking about flow’, rather, it’s an organic collection of works and an open conversation to whoever comes into contact with them. I myself, simply want to be in flow."

As well as obtaining a law degree from London Guildhall University, Bolaji is a published poet and the founder and artistic director of Ex Nihilo Theatre Group.  

In addition to the exhibition, UH Arts is delivering a dynamic programme of live and online events later this year, including a digital version of the exhibition, ‘Meet the Artist’ film, related talks and a live workshop with Bolaji for students and artists.

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