Olumide Oresegun


ARTIST STATEMENT

Without a wealth of experiences, past or present to pull from, art might not exist. 

My work is borne out of a constant passion to revisit the stories of my past and bring it to the present with the aid of paint and brushes.

The face of my childhood is reflected in every child I paint as those of adults reflects my generation and current situation. 

Africans in the diaspora, inspired by the influences of Western culture, without forgetting their African roots, also surface in my work. 

From a nostalgic standpoint, many of the costumes of my grandparents blended with the fashion trends of today also appear. 

I like the idea of changing skin tones to different colours in some cases to reflect the adaption of African colours to the new environments of these unsophisticated migrants. 

Meticulously creating a realistic description of each individual expression, blurring the traditional and contemporary line to build on the aesthetic without neglecting the narrative."

In 1981, Olumide Oresegun was born in Lagos, Nigeria. Today, he’s internationally recognized as one of Africa’s top contemporary hyperrealists. 

What is still a core memory for Olumide - receiving a sketchpad and pencil from his mother at 4 years old - led him at 19 years old to begin his academic study of art. He soon became an HND Graduate of Fine Art and Painting from Yaba College of Technology in 2006 - a school that highlights the practices of traditional African methodology. 

Under the likes of art lecturers: Peter Coker, Kolade Oshinowo, and Professor Tolu Filani (as well as being influenced by the work of Abiodun Olaku, Romanus Isichie, William-Adolphe Bouguereau), Oresegun learned the composition of figures - pushing realism to the stage of hyper-realism by creating a barrier between realism and abstraction in his own work.

A common trait of his mentors followed the ideology that, “Great craftsmanship is the root of all great art.” 

After graduation, he struck a deal with an art dealer in Lagos who presented a particular opportunity to produce ten neoclassical concepts depicting the “Life Story of Pope John Paul Ⅱ”. 

Olumide soon became known nationally through his exquisite oil paintings capturing everyday people and childhood. 

Olumide shares, “(In my paintings) I hope to communicate the same emotional response that I felt and was inspired by as a young boy in Africa. Sometimes modeling personalities in moments forces me to paint a subject one at a time. While sometimes, clarifying certain stories the way I remembered it sparks my ability to bounce onto the next canvas without leaving any details untouched.” 

He continues, “Most times a single piece can take over two months to complete because I never get satisfied. I’ll call my wife and friends to look for faults because we (artists) can become blind to our errors and I think it’s valuable for an artist to surround themselves with people who are willing to give honest opinions on what we create.” 

Many collectors over his 13 years of professional showcases have bought into the high-demand of his most coveted works known simply as the “water scenes”. His works have also been a part of auctions at Sothebys, Arthouse Contemporary-Lagos and he has self-represented at Miami Art Basel 2022. 

His award-winning paintings continue to grace the globe reaching galleries, embassies, and national museums in Spain, Nigeria, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, South Africa, France, Dubai, Switzerland, Belgium, Ghana, Cameroon, and the United Kingdom.