WHO IS VILLAGER?
VILLAGER (b.1999 in Lagos, Nigeria; based in Baltimore, MD), I am a multi-disciplinary artist, painter, and sculptor whose work is centered around investigating humanity as a product of culture and social conditions. Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, and only immigrating to the United States in 2013, my work is heavily influenced by my perception and experience of social culture in Nigeria and the States. Seeking to develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of humanity through a multi-sensorial approach- VERBIVOCOVISUALLY
I am formally trained as a Water Microbiologist and Environmental Researcher, receiving a B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Chemistry and a minor in Chemistry from Towson University in 2020. My practice began in January 2022 when I first painted caged vessel as a form of self-exploration and self-expression during my Graduate Studies in Marine Estuary Environmental Science at UMBC. During this time, I was lost in myself, mentally fatigued, and extremely drained- It felt like I living in the shell of my former self and I needed an outlet to communicate this experience.
Truly, my art began as a way for me to EXIST in a world where I believed I was no longer. It granted me the opportunity to re-imagine my existence and begin to create the world I so much needed to exist within- that of the endless possibility of imagination, creativity, and humanity. My expressions of creativity continuously grant me the opportunity to reimagine my humanity and seek a greater purpose in existence. In the physical, my works are an expression of my body. The deliberation & investigation of my purpose of existence that began when I was 15, is forever channeled in the present and evolves as I continue to develop this communication.
I have exhibited in several group shows in Baltimore, MD, and also had my debut solo exhibition in December 2022 at Chesapeake Arts Center titled BUSH BOY! My work continues to expand in practice through research and imagination using simple, bold forms and vibrant colors whether in their paintings, photos, soft sculptures, and installations to create visual imagery and stories that appeal to the SELF and the many.
Currently, I am developing a sculptural-based project titled WITH MY BEING, a series of soft sculptures that reverberates an intricate and original modern interpretation of the influence of culture on the formation of identity. Using individual pieces of the free-flowing West African Yoruba suit garment called agbada, each sculpture is manipulated with acrylic paint and wood representing various aspects of culture, including tradition, home/place, self(identity), gender, sexuality, religion/practice, language, knowledge production, and mortality.
This body of work is an exploration and transformation of cultural energy saturated in both the material and the metaphysical, inviting the viewer to reclaim, recontextualize, and reimagine culture in a way that is true to them.