Tunji Adeniyi-Jones’s paintings emerge from a perspective of what the artist describes as ‘cultural addition, combination and collaboration’. Born and educated in the UK and now living and working in the USA, his practice is inspired by the ancient history of West Africa and its attendant mythology, and by his Yoruba heritage. Often beginning with studies in ink pen or watercolour on paper as a means to explore his imagery, Adeniyi-Jones employs a varied palette and works with different seasons or times of day. His characters and forms are repeated and re-worked in multi-panel paintings which depict figures in small groups or pairs, invoking the ritualized repetition integral to ceremonial processes. His boldly coloured paintings are set within a flat, shallow space located in modernist abstraction – in particular the overlapping planes of Cubism and the colourful papier découpé of Matisse – as well as the narratives and symbolism of West Africa. In these, abstract backgrounds of lush, stylized foliage proliferate across the canvas surface, the sinewy bodies emerging and dissolving into the tessellating shapes and interlocking swathes of colour.
Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists