Born in Lagos, Nigeria and living in London from the age of sixteen, Agusto transforms her sense of alienation that she experienced in life between these two lands, through her artistic practice, using the metaphor of hybridity within her imagined world. Depicted in pastel pencil, chalk and mixed media on paper, Agusto creates a landscape of hybrid figures that are realised as an amalgamation of textures, scenery and iconography that resonate with her cultural consciousness as a Lagosian.
Agusto’s fantastical depictions of the multiplicity of her Nigerian identity, draw from traditional Nigerian imagery and contemporary pop-culture references. Studying cultural theory from a young age, both in Nigeria concerning the critique of cultural traditions, and in the UK with a view to the diaspora, Agusto takes inspiration from science fiction and modern cinema and television, citing references including the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Alice in Wonderland.
Escape to Within brings together a new body of work which builds her world into further realms of liminal distortion and dislocation. Often depicted in the absence of traditional perspective, light and gravity, Agusto supports her landscape instead upon a framework of braids, texture and abstract forms. The hybrids are created by imbuing the human figure with elements that symbolise the artist’s sense of self. These elements often originate as memories and may take the form of flora, fauna or iconography, as with the shape of a cross from a memory of Sunday School informing a head adornment. In contrast, non-hybrids are representations and recurring figures from Agusto’s daily life. Family members, friends and passers by are subsumed into her works.
About Bunmi Agusto (b.1999 Lagos, Nigeria) lives and works in Lagos and London.
Bunmi Agusto is a mixed media artist whose work explores cultural theory and the evolution of selfhood through the lens of fantasy. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, London and is currently undertaking an MA in History of Art & Archaeology at SOAS University, London. Agusto was awarded the Cass Art Prize in 2019 and 2020, and has exhibited work both nationally and internationally. Selected Group exhibitions include: TAFETA, the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Paris x Christie’s Online, Saatchi Gallery, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and Christie’s Education.
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