Adébayo Bolaji

A man stood next to a modern art sculpture

The Soho House London member and artist shares five of his favourite works

A man stood above a mural on the floor
‘Chibok’ 2016, mixed media on raw cotton duck canvas, 8 x 2 m
‘I made this piece at Yinka Shonibare MBE’s Guest Projects Artist Residency. The piece is a stream of consciousness, a visual response to the 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. I also finished the piece when several of the girls had been found. I couldn’t get over the sheer horror and magnitude of the event, and the lack of global outrage.’
A piece of modern art
‘Her Flower’ 2016, mixed media on cotton, 121 x 154 cm
‘I like to play with opposites and place visual ideas that seem contrary to each other. The figure is actually taken from a ballet dancer that I saw. I then thought about a woman’s body, how it is always on display for society. And, from several conversations I had with women, how some have grappled with their sexuality, its privacy, power, and biological growth. It’s clearly an ongoing conversation.’
A piece of modern art featuring a mother and baby
‘Black Is Beautiful’ 2020 
‘This is probably my favourite painting to date. It’s based on Michelangelo’s ‘Pietà’ [Mary holding the crucified Christ]. I painted it at the start of the year. What is bizarre is that I deliberately made the figures Black in response to how we normally would see Christ and Mary. But I used the image to reflect on police brutality in America – African-American mothers holding their Black sons being killed by a system that is meant to protect. Ironically, a few months after this painting George Floyd happened... we all know the rest of the story.’
A piece of modern art featuring a man
‘Logic’ 2020 (artist postcard)
‘I think this speaks for itself. But to go further, logic can also be a sounding board, not necessarily “the rule”. Logic should give freedom to creativity and [allow us to] find other ways to do things, not imprison us.’
A colourful piece of modern art
‘Myths And Legends’ 2019, acrylic, gold, oil pastel and glitter on cotton, 200 x 160 cm
‘I made this at my artist residency in Zürich combined with a solo show. The title of the show was Babel, exploring mythical languages and tales. The painting is asking a question about our thoughts on another world... another life.’