As one of the Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors for 2019, Nigerian Raji Bamidele is thankful that the artworks he poured his heart into have received this recognition.
Speaking about his Absa L’Atelier winning work, Raji Bamidele says, ‘My experiences as a young man have been moulded to form the bedrock of my inspiration. These are gleaned from my immediate environment and personal experiences.
‘The multidisciplinary approach to my work, which weaves differing materials and methods belonging both to contemporary and modern art forms, calls into question the existence of time and being.
‘I create increasingly dark panels embedded with charred coal layers and gold leaf, sometimes in the form of symbols and intricate patterns. I regard these dark canvases to be the essence which provokes a philosophical commentary through material that addresses the infinite and the finite, immortality and mortality, the microcosm and macrocosm, in addition to the socio-political and historical preconceptions surrounding “blackness” and its universal implications.
‘My works examine the everyday innermost activities of mankind, exploring personal and political narratives, focusing mostly on the resilience of the human spirit.’
Of his Absa L’Atelier win, Bamidele says, ‘This is still surreal for me. It has been a whirlwind of activities, from choosing what emotion I wanted to express on an international scene to the actual execution of that process. My heart was poured into every one of the five pieces presented.
‘Thank you, first, to Absa L’Atelier for creating a platform to showcase African talent to the world on an international scale. I want to thank the people that I have around me who have become a strong support system in the execution of my works – from thought processes even to the actual finished pieces. As an artist, our story is not complete without art aficionados and collectors who see the dream and believe in the output even when the process has just begun, thank you! This is a collective effort and I cannot take the glory alone.’
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