Class of 2023 • Painting

Ajao Babatunde Lawal

Ajao Babatunde Lawal
National College of Art and Design (NCAD)


Graduation Year
Class of 2023


In my quest for knowledge of art in galleries and museums, I seldom encounter works that depict individuals with my complexion, and when such works do exist, they often oversimplify our existence and reduce it to narrow stereotypes. This has prompted me to employ traditional Western figurative styles of art to create paintings that celebrate the presence of my African heritage in the face of dominant historical and contemporary narratives. My art raises questions about authenticity and the authority that determines what is worthy of representation.How can we challenge the single-story narrative that leads many to unfairly judge the incredibly diverse ethnic minority communities? How can we address the issue of underrepresentation of diverse cultural backgrounds in our society? How can we inspire a new generation of artists to embrace their identities? These are some of the questions that concern my work.My work is motivated by my desire to tell stories that captivate people from all walks of life, irrespective of their ethnicity and cultural background. This dedication aims to promote equality and inclusion in artistic representation.
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