Modupeola Fadugba is a multi-media artist working in painting, drawing, and socially engaged installation. A self-taught artist, Modupe’s inspiration comes from a lifetime of experiences comparing the developed West, where she was primarily raised and educated, with developing countries like Togo and Nigeria, where she is from.
Much of her thoughts are focused on Nigeria. She is concerned with how Nigeria can, beyond ordinary descriptions of development, excel as a nation. Her artistic work explores themes of games, calculation, and value within the Nigerian context.
In April this year, she became the first African to grace the cover of the issue of Harper Bazaar’s Art Magazine.
Check out some of her works
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Senegalese Boys (2015) On my last Sunday in Dakar, I decide to visit Gorée Island, the infamous Senegalese slave port site. From the mainland, I join hundreds of tourists to be ferried to Gorée for the afternoon. In my stomach, the swaying motion and unease of being ferried to a former slave-trading port with hundreds of foreign tourists lingers. I am also alone on this expedition, so I notice, perhaps, more than I ought. As we near the shore, a crowd forms at the handrails of the ferry and cameras emerge to capture a growing spectacle. Peering through the crowd, I see a group of young boys appear in the water beneath us – more than twenty in number – paddling the deep sea with the smooth ease of trained swimmers. On closer inspection, I realize the boys are diving for gold. From the ferry, someone aims a coin at the expectant children. The swimmers, in turn, trace the coin’s trajectory through the sky, swiftly diving below the surface of the water to find it. I am entranced by the winner, the boy who reemerges with the coin. I call him Ndar. I notice the quizzical expression on Ndar's face as he examines his newly acquired treasure. From the concentrated furrowing of his brows, I conclude with some certainty that Ndar’s money is worthless, unless he travels far across the oceans to spend it. I imagine instead, Ndar returning home to add his new acquisition to a neatly arranged rows of coins next to his school books. I picture his eclectic collection boasts the faces of men raised in circles of copper, silver and gold. Amongst the kings and dignitaries from the faraway lands of the tourists, the golden bust of one perfectly coiffed white woman stands out. Her crown balances steadily on her head in the effortless way Ndar’s mother balances water kegs on hers. As if throwing coins into a wishing well, other tourists join in on the leisurely afternoon sport. With each successive throw, one boy emerges from the water, cheers and inspects the coin quickly before putting it in his mouth. Each victory, short-lived, ushers in a new game with new a new winner. This game continues, I assume, until the last ferry leaves at 5:30 in the evening..
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Heads Up, Keep Swimming At Face Value, this exhibition would appear to be about the lives of black women. But it goes beyond that. These are evolving narratives around self reflection, learning, togetherness and sacrifice. Looking forward to having you! #headsupkeepswimming #artxlagos #smocontemporary #headsortails #synchronizedswimmers #dearyoungartist