Jamal Ademola’s Exploration Of Self-Identity Through Mixed Media

Journey with Nigerian-American mixed media artist and filmmaker Jamal Ademola as he strolls towards self-discovery. In our ‘Spotlight’ series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists and more who are producing vibrant, original work. In our latest piece, we spotlight Nigerian-American mixed media artist and filmmaker Jamal Ademola. His work was featured in an exhibition titled, “AFRICAN ANCIENT FUTURES” curated by Ethel Tawe at A Whitespace Creative Agency in Lagos, Nigeria from February 28th to April 2nd. The exhibition featured the black experience through an afro-surrealist lens. Follow Jamal’s work on Instagram and on his site.

Nigerian-American mixed media artist and filmmaker Jamal Ademola effectively works across multiple mediums — film, visual art, video, drawing, painting, photography, and performance that creates conversations around such themes as black identities, the divine feminine, cultural consciousness and society. The dreamworlds he erects are indicative of an awareness of self and others that is otherworldly. His knack for storytelling and love for fine art permeate throughout his body of work.

Where in work I FOREVER AM, Jamal attempts to paint a clearer picture of the black experience, I DREAMED OF SEEING MYSELF strings together pieces of our collective history. Prints like ‘WHO SHOULD I BE IN THE WORLD?’ and ‘PORTRAIT OF DIONNE’ place women at the forefront of the overall story Jamal wants to tell.

Below, he shares his views on identity.

Tell me about the journey you walked to become the artist you are today?

I’ve always been artistic and creative. Since age three, my mother noticed that I would draw inside all of her encyclopedias. Like a lot of Black artists, I didn’t know what I was doing was art. I was just being creative. And it wasn’t until I went to school for media arts and animation in 2000 that I realized this…I dropped out of Georgia State where I’d been studying computer science. Like a lot of children born to African parents, I didn’t have a lot of support for a career in the arts. I didn’t know how I’d make a living being creative.

I was very rebellious. I went to school for animation but ended up dropping out. I went to one of those for-profit schools which wasn’t that great. I started working in television and got into design and different mediums. I wanted to stretch out and expand into photography, filmmaking, and even acting. I found myself very drawn to lots of different things. My mind just wanted to find a way to combine different mediums into a new visual language. About six years ago, I started taking my artistic practice more seriously. Before that I was doing, and still do, a lot of advertising projects like commercials and other stuff — these are usually animated or mixed media.

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Source: Okay Africa

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