1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair: A solo presentation with Sola Olulode

Somerset House, 13 - 16 October 2022 
VIP Preview: 13 October, 11:00 - 18:00. Public Opening: 14 - 16 October, 10:00 - 19:00.

Berntson Bhattacharjee is delighted to present a solo installation by Sola Olulode at this year’s London edition of 1-54. 

The concept for this solo booth with Sola Olulode is centred around her ‘Bed Series’. This body of work encompasses who she is in a poignant way, being a mix of two cultures. The materials and techniques used are rooted in her Nigerian background, whereas the subject matter is inspired by her life in London. A series which she has often returned to over the past two years, Sola has created an homage to this theme and pushed the curatorial boundaries of the material and her craftsmanship. The compositions consist of two figures in a bed together, captured during intimate, peaceful moments. The figures portrayed are queer, making the works quietly political even though the overwhelming feeling depicted is love. 

The history of dying and indigo in Nigeria fascinates Sola, who uses this tradition as a central focus in her work. She has found that dying the canvas is a highly effective way of layering colour and depth into her paintings. Working with mediums such as wax, batik, oil bar and impasto, Sola creates highly textured works that nod to the rich history of her culture.

In the past Sola has stretched her canvases, however in this new body of work she is taking the concept of the bed series to a deeper level. Rather than being stretched around a wooden frame, the large canvases will be hung and stretched between two wooden rods, to mimic a bed frame. The wooden rods and the finials have been designed by Sola and will be hand painted by her. This creates another level of depth and perspective to the works, making the works more sculptural and conceptual. Sola also wants to draw attention to the textile itself and challenge western notions of what fine art should be.

In the centre of the booth will be a bed, adorned with dyed and painted sheets. This installation will create an immersive experience for the viewer, allowing us to engage with Sola’s works in a way that hasn’t been done before.