SAAC welcomes contemporary artist Oluwatobi Adewumi and his exhibition “Journey to the Unknown” to the Merkle and Price Galleries April 29 – June 12. Adewumi, originally from Nigeria, now calls south Arkansas his home. The Visual Arts Committee will host an artist’s reception on Thursday, May 2 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.

Adewumi focuses on the sociocultural aspect of the subject through his multimedia drawings. His work explores his personal journey of having been born in Nigeria and then moving and assimilating into American Culture in conservative Arkansas.

His drawings are between realism/abstract figures and portraits layered out to make it simple for his audience by telling a story in a story. Some of his best tools are charcoal, and acrylic paint, which he can manipulate and use freely to bring the depth of the subject as he tackles the story behind each piece.

“The exhibition narrates my experience as a black man in the US or as a black man in an arduous society. From the lens of an immigrant, my art frames new stories about an epic experience that has been playing like a film for the past five hundred years. The stories remind us that we are one people who must live together and learn about love and harmony, despite the differences in the colors of our skins,” said Adewumi.

When Adewumi first migrated to America, he never considered himself “black” since he came from a country where the idea of skin color was never reflective of his identity. In Nigeria, ethnicity, religion, social class, and gender defines who a person is in society. To be called black had never been part of the conversation, since the social construct in Nigeria was not based on race. He would travel to any part of the country without worrying that someone was going to judge him or not afford him the imperative opportunity based on his skin color.

When he migrated to America, he realized that his race and his ethnicity as an African immigrant would define the space that society afforded him. Adewumi and his wife, an Arkansas native, live in McNeil located just outside of Magnolia.

More from Oluwatobi “Tobi” Adewumi
instagram – @otobiart