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RIJKSAKADEMIE, NETHERLANDS

About

Tyna Adebowale is a painter and mixed media artist who lives and works in Lagos. Her work explores issues of gender, politics, and social media in contemporary Nigerian society. Raised in Edo State, Nigeria, Adebowale moved to Abuja after her education, where she practiced as a fulltime studio artist for five years. Adebowale has exhibited widely both locally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include The Archive: Static, Embodied,Practiced (3rd International Art Programme, Accra. Foundation for Contemporary Art, Ghana & Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos); Plights of Women (Female Artists Association of Nigeria (FAAN) art exhibition. French Cultural Centre,Abuja); and The Maker: New Contemporaries (African Artists’ Foundation, Lagos).This year she attended the Global Crit Clinic in Accra, Ghana, a two weeks intensive MFA programme, where she had the opportunity to focus on her art practice through various critical sessions.

Tyna shifted her attention to the visualization of tensions and oppression of queer women. In her recent work she focuses her attention on the androgynous character of a person and gender fluidity.

Her drawings on canvas show a gentle and loving painterly hand, while a huge - liberating -power speaks out. Visible and hidden at the same time she draws double portraits: Male and Female. Two different identities of the two sides of an individual. Or as she says, "as me and my twin brother, me and my male side as one." Portraits in which she shows man / woman as a liquid notion.The poses are explicit and vulnerable, but are protected by the rich detailed background that obscures the portraits. They make sexuality and and roginity visible, but in an enveloped security which in the political insecurity of Nigeria is so badly needed. Adebowale visualizes sexual equality and diversity as a natural matter, as it was the case in her memory in pre/post-colonial Nigeria before the anti-gay law and before Christianity, some sexual lifestyle was normal and very traditional.

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