O Yemi Tubi (MOYAT)

ArtAscent Distinguished Artist of the 2021 Garden call for artists.

Artist Statement

I am a Nigerian-born, American-trained artist with a creative personal style, currently residing in the United Kingdom . I paint in acrylic and watercolour, but my favoured medium is oil paints. My recent paintings were influenced by the political and social upheaval of our world today and the works of the Renaissance artists.

I like to use portrait paintings to tell the stories about my subjects as did Professor Wole Soyinka, 1986 Nobel Prize Winner in Literature, in painting SOYINKA: An Africans’ Literary Icon, PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST, and THE VIOLINIST.

About My Work

1) GELE (African Head Wrap) Vintage and Modern

In my recent painting, I placed the Nigerian National Theatre building, one of the noticeable landmarks in Lagos, Nigeria where Gele is popularly worn, in the background view through a window. In the foreground is my mother at a table, representing an era when ladies took pride in having the skills to tie their own Geles, literarily and figuratively. It was an era when women took pride in being able to feed their families. A modern lady sits across from her, made up in my usual style of rose and thorns, and dressed in modernized African wear. She is browsing a Pinterest fashion page, popular with some African ladies for choosing their fashion styles. The blouse of the modern lady in this painting is less than half the size of the blouses worn by African women in earlier years.

The skills of tying Gele as well as other cultural attributes that used to be the pride of African women are disappearing. This painting is an homage to my mother and to all the industrious African mothers of earlier era. They spent quality time with their children while working to support their families. They carried their children on their backs while working on the farms or managing their trading stalls. The artist’s mum carried her child on her back, a tray of fabrics balanced on her heard as she sold door-to-door to provide for her family.

It is great that modern African ladies can boast of having billions of followers and likes on social media, but the followers and likes that really count are those of the members of their families. Modern African women, be virtuous women. Embrace the modern trends but don’t neglect the rich virtues of African heritage.

Distinguished Artist of the ArtAscent Gardens call for entry. To see this in print, grab a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Gardens issue.


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