Toyin Ojih Odutola

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Toyin Ojih Odutola is one of our finest visual artists working today. Her art has been featured in the Whitney, MOMA, and the Smithsonian. She joins us, in studio, on the heels of her revelatory monograph, Toyin Ojih Odutola: The UmuEze Amara Clan and the House of Obafemi. The seminal text features work made between 2016-2018, set around two fictional aristocratic Nigerian families joined by the marriage of two of their sons.  

Before the virtual gallery (see below), Toyin tells her story: coming to America from Nigeria at age five (6:44), why she started drawing (10:02), a formative trip to her homeland at age sixteen (12:50), the challenge of creating art at the start of the 2008 recession (16:03), a troubling bout with grad school (18:04), and the words that kept her going—from Toni Morrison (20:49).

Then, we sit with our virtual gallery (26:30-1:00:00). In it, Toyin’s shares her daily art-making practices (37:00), how she combats both the omnipresence of the white gaze (41:56) and the insidious rise of the “art star” (54:27). As we leave, she walks us through the full-circle moment of her Zadie Smith portrait (59:26), and what it means—to her—to be alive today (1:04:38).

Toyin Ojih Odutola: A Virtual Gallery

(all images courtesy © Toyin Ojih Odutola)

Newlyweds on Holiday, 2016
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper 63 × 41 in. (paper)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
29:18

Last Dance at the Annual County Gala (Couple), 2016
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper 77 × 42 in. (paper)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
30:40

Representatives of State, 2016-2017
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper 75 1/2 × 50 in. (paper)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
33:50

Surveying the Family Seat, 2017
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper 85 × 15 1/2 in. (paper)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
34:27

To Wander Determined (The Private Secretary)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
38:15

By Her Design, 2017
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper 68 × 42 in. (paper)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
39:10

Unclaimed Estates, 2017
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper 77 × 42 in. (paper)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
41:15

Picnic on the Grounds, 2017-2018
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper 74 1/2 × 50 in. (sheet)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
46:30

In the Drawing Room, 2018
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper 29 1/2 × 39 5/8 in. (sheet)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
47:00

Crown and House Post, in Congress, 2018
Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper 63 7/8 × 42 in. (sheet)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
47:30

Routine Inspection, 2019
Charcoal, pastel and chalk on linen over Dibond panel, 84 × 50 in. (canvas)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
51:30

Sadie, 2018-2019
Pastel, charcoal, pencil and graphite on paper, 87 × 42 in. (sheet)
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
© Toyin Ojih Odutola
1:00:14


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