In his architectural portraits, Patrick Oberhi Akpojotor visualizes the exchange between humans and their built environments, whether real or imagined. The artist’s spatial body of work, which explicitly contemplates the relationship between interiority and exteriority, is founded in his childhood in Lagos, a city checkered with traditional, colonial, and contemporary structures where he still lives today. “I saw how a former residential area became a commercial one changing how people interacted with that community,” he says.
Rendered in bold blocks of acrylic, Akpojotor’s paintings encourage introspection as they consider how identities inform the design of single buildings and infrastructure, which in turn shape the people who occupy those spaces. The anthropomorphic structures evoke cubist geometry and illusion, fracturing the body with a staircase, brick chimney, or entire house, and some works shown here, including both “In Memory of the Living” pieces, are self-portraits.
Beyond his surroundings in Nigeria, Akpojotor derives inspiration from ancient African sculptures and masks, particularly “the way the forms are intentionally distorted to pass messages and symbols of their (beliefs),” he shares. “In my work, the way object(s) are placed does not matter. What is important is that the object(s) are represented, and the message is passed.”
Find a collection of Akpojotor’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures on his site, in addition to studio shots and glimpses at works-in-progress on Instagram. (via Juxtapoz)
“In Memory of the Living I” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches
Left: “In my Image” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 96 x 63 inches. Right: “Oga Boss” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches
“Girl with Red Ribbon” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches
Left: “Witness to the times” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches. Right: “Time” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches
“In Memory of the Living II” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches