Nigeria made me, America raised me.
My culture, Yoruba, is a culture steeped in ceremony and tradition. Events such as births, birthdays, weddings, and yes, even deaths, were an occasion to celebrate and dress up in our finest fabrics. It is our tradition to adorn ourselves in the most beautiful fabrics and colors. At any given social event, you could expect 2-3 costume changes, with each outfit more resplendent than the next. These outfits were often custom sewn, with each peer/social group selecting one fabric pattern to represent them as a group. I grew up awash in all manner of gorgeous textiles with beautiful colors, textures and pattern prints. Color and Pattern to us, are in and of themselves a manifestation of joy and passion.
Needless to say, my work is heavily influenced by my Yoruba heritage. I get my love of color and shimmer, from my early-onset exposure to the beautiful brocades, the richly colored lace and crystal-adorned fabrics of my youth. My whimsical and improvisational geometric designs I owe to traditional Yoruba art, tribal marks, and wood carvings.
It was also our tradition to be creative. Our creativity was largely rooted in necessity; the necessity to make things we needed. As a young girl I grew up watching my mom and my aunts (all 5 of them!) sewing and crafting.I learned how to knit, crochet, sew, cook, and bake long before I turned 13.
My family moved to the US when I was 13, and I’ve lived here ever since. Upon settling into our American hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia, I was struck by Abundance. Everything was so abundantly available and for the most part, accessible. I could not believe how easily people parted with things they deemed to have outlived their usefulness, just to acquire newer shinier versions. I spent the first few months in America cleaning and collecting styrofoam meat trays, just knowing that I’d be able to repurpose them!
This sense of wanting to preserve, fix, reuse and repurpose things stays with me till today. It also informs my creative endeavors, in that each thing I create needs to have a purpose with the longest possible life. I create out of a need to bring beauty into the mundane, in hopes that these the beauty in the mundane will make us find uses for each thing we allow into our space, for as long as possible.
I am a Graphic Designer by training (B.A., Hampton University,‘99) and self-taught Artist. I live in Dayton, OH with my husband and 3 children.
The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know, and the more I want to know. Knowledge is infinite.
My work has been published in: “Altered Paper Jewelry” by Jenn Mason
I have spoken at a Pecha Kucha Night