Eshinlokun Wasiu is a Nigerian artist (b. 1998, Lagos, Nigeria). His work, which he associates with Surrealism, explores the way societal pressures force us to present inauthentic selves bound by fear, guilt, despondency, anxiety, or a need to please. The exaggerated positioning of his silhouetted figures, juxtaposed with bold braids of tape, creates an uncanny visual metaphor which represents this universal state of being. With his work he encourages us to access a free way of living, unbound by fear of being judged. His use of the shadow is a vehicle to depict collective humanity as, no matter where we come from, we all have a shadow. This concept of universal feeling drives much of his current practice.
Eshinlokun Wasiu studied Business Administration at Yaba College of Education, Nigeria. From a young age, Eshinlokun practiced art in his spare time, his pieces inspired by issues relating to himself and those around him. Through the support of his mother, as a teenager he undertook extra-curricular art-training. He began creating works that reflected the everyday struggles of people around him, in the hope that by externalising this struggle visually, he could orchestrate a change in his viewer: encouraging them to be true to who they are.
Eshinlokun’s process begins with taking reference images. Using models bound by tape, he directs them into accentuated positions. These images become the basis for his compositions, combining different figures and silhouetted objects or animals to create the desired visual narrative. The artist works with acrylics and charcoal; his process is meticulous, taking his time with the material to ensure crisp lines and balance is achieved. His coloured backgrounds are applied last. He paints methodically, entering a space of deep thoughtfulness. Once he clarifies the emotional truth he is exploring with the painting, a representative colour will arrive to him organically.
Eshinlokun’s practice is not limited to painting but also encompasses installation and performance art. Ideas are cross-pollinated through these varying mediums, creating a cohesive and thoughtful body of work which investigates the human experience.