Monilola Olayemi Ilupeju
born October 13 1996, on a Sunday
Monilola Olayemi Ilupeju is a Nigerian-American artist and writer living in Berlin. Her transdisciplinary practice confronts and questions the commonalities of systemic structures while also proposing liberatory forms of relationality. Often pulling from her experience of her own body, the work functions as a point of dialogue between the audience and herself, transmuting anti-colonial methodologies and an intuitive spirit. As she works through narrative-driven subject matter, she also interrogates the wider, political contexts in which these issues and observations lie.
Monilola graduated from New York University in 2018 where she studied Studio Art (Honors Studio) and Social and Cultural Analysis, the latter of which focused on the intersections of race and cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, philosophy, sociology, and political science. The knowledge acquired in these fields continues to inform her practice today. She is also an alumna of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Class of 2018. In addition to her studio practice, Monilola has also done extensive curatorial and editorial work with SAVVY Contemporary and Archive Books, among others.
Curators Nathalie Okpu and Mona Schwager on my work for their exhibition ENTF at Bar K Gallery, Berlin:
"In Monilola's art, she questions the idea of the self and what constitutes 'identity.' She merges the visible with constructed epistemologies of history, sexuality, and representation which embody fragmented ideas of being. Transferring the outcomes of her constant questioning and research into her own narrative, Monilola’s works grapple through different media the movement of a defined body through reality. How does appearance influence human experience? What makes a being whole? Those recurring questions in Monilola's fluid artistic practice work towards a body that is not tied to a specific place, an identity unbeholden to its external location, able to move through the world unharmed."