WITH MY BEING, is a series of soft sculptures that temporally and spatially investigates the impact of culture on the formation of identity. This project was birthed as a reclamation, recontextualization, and reimagination of my culture and origin in a way that is true to me. This body of work is a reconstruction of the traditional, reimagining the past into the present by energetically transforming cultural objects into modern emblems of significance. Each of the sculptures in WITH MY BEING is inspired by and utilizes the agbada, a four-piece yoruba traditional suit traditional, metaphorically and physically representing varied aspects of an evolving understanding of culture as it relates to tradition, home/place, self(identity), gender, sexuality, religion/belief practice, language and knowledge systems & production, and mortality. The agbada consists of an awosoke (a large, free-flowing outer robe), an awotele (undervest), a sokoto (pair of trousers), and a fila (hat).
Using angular folds and conscious manipulations, the sculptures in WITH MY BEING receive their main form from the fabric material of the individual pieces of the agbada. The fluidity of the fabric is activated using acrylics, each fold reflecting the intimate conversations between all versions of myself echo through time, as well as a parallel representation of the evolutionary relationship between the materials with time. The sculptures serve as both the object result of the re-imagination of culture, as well as the imbued essence of that process of evolution. Through this body of work, I aim to give voice to my experiences and celebrate the intangible influence of culture on our perceptions of self. Using wood as a medium of transformation, the wooden appendages/constructions represent the reimagination of the material object from processed back to natural, physically projecting life onto the body. The precise angular movements and formations of the pressure-treated wood constructed upon the fabrics mirror a similar evolution of self, mirroring the unending process of unlearning, learning, and (re)actualization of self.
WITH MY BEING is a modern interpretation of the traditional, recontextualizing rich cultural material and energetically abundant objects into emblems of remembrance, joy, autonomy, pleasure, freedom, and knowledge in a neo-colonial landscape. Re-understanding culture through evolutionary transformation this work invites the viewer to reflect on how culture can both shape and limit our perceptions of SELF in relation to identity, autonomy, and freedom.
*this project is still ongoing*