Oludaré I hope to connect to the universe more deeply, understand the universe more deeply, and make dope shit on the way.
By Mary Truong November 4th, 2020
There’s a quality of relentlessness in the work that Oludaré produces, reminiscent of the constant roar of a waterfall. His time-based works (video and animation) have a frenetic energy to them; landscapes will shapeshift into psychedelic, eye-blearing waves of color, or human figures and landscapes will be repeated and overlapped on top of each other. The audio that he uses pounds like deep, abyssal beats. Even static drawings feel like they buzz with power from the way Oludaré crams space with chaotic detail, stacking image upon image with saturated reds and bright blues. When asked how his art might compare to graffiti, Oludaré says, “It’s a similar movement... there’s no eraser. You just gotta go. You just gotta continue with it... It’s confident, bold— you roll with it.”
The way that Oludaré makes art partially echoes his philosophy on life. To him, life presents an inexorable stream of moments to “grapple” with; some challenges, some pleasures, and some occasions to connect with the universe. Oludaré’s projects that present a narrative also follow this formula. In the Story of Sadoman, Oludaré chronicles a character’s struggle to gain power and then emancipation from tools and coping mechanisms that, once helpful, now restrain them. He personally relates his growth to the stories he wants to tell, saying, “I haven’t come out the other side of the growth that I’m writing about, [but] I think it’s simultaneous.” The process of writing and making art facilitates his own maturation.
“Being able to understand that energy or reciprocate that energy.”
According to Oludaré, religion and spirituality can be key facilitators to this growth as a “handbook on what humans are likely to do. In terms of morality, but also in terms of how the world works.” He incorporates religious symbolism and themes into his work— primarily Christian motifs, as that is what he grew up with, but he finds other religious texts to similarly be as informative. He also attributes his spirituality as a grounding force that influenced how he thinks and rationalizes things. To him, parables expose “the things that we’re likely to do, the mistakes that we’re likely to make, and how to avoid those things,” and these stories can be incorporated into his own narratives. The self awareness that spirituality brings (not necessarily an organized religion, but perhaps flow or energy) concretizes character.
The systemic effect of colonialism is another theme that Oludaré addresses in his stories. In another project called Hybridism, Oludaré depicts the struggle against a neo-colonialist power. In this story, too, there’s evolution and change, but it’s now scaled to a societal level. What happens at the end of a revolution? “There’s two different ways of reacting… you can either replicate it… or you can rise above it.” In both his stories of personal growth and societal development/revolution, there seems to be Sisyphean struggle underlying the day-to-day. That is to say, the only option is continuation. We incorporate lessons from the colonialist destruction of history, and then we rebuild using what lies at our feet. We stumble morally and fall from grace, and then we brush the dust off and continue. It reeks of futility, but there is power in the gesture: if you make a mistake while spray painting graffiti, then you roll with it and hope the sum process becomes a work of art.
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