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Abi Ola’s art practice centres around family portraiture and patterns. Originally, she used to paint the details of the figures’ faces. However, over time, she became more interested in the patterns on their clothes. More recently, she has been exploring the use of emojis alongside traditional African textile motifs, and British floral designs by popular artists such as William Morris. Abi Ola’s patterns go beyond two dimensional paintings as they find their way onto the interior design of buildings, clothes, and skin. Ultimately, Abi Ola is collecting a plethora of symbols to create her own vocabulary of patterns. These are then used to express through her own made-up language of her experience of the world, as a black British female artist. 

Abi Ola gained her BFA from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2019, and MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, in 2021. Recent exhibitions include ‘New Contemporaries’, a group exhibition at South London Gallery; ‘All Are Gone The Old Familiar Faces’, a solo show with Flatland Projects, Battle, 2022; ‘Love At A Distance’, a solo show as part of the Bloomsbury Festival Art Prize, 2020-21; a duo show with Ilke Cop at the VCRB Gallery, Belgium 2022; and The Slade School of Fine Art’s 150th Anniversary exhibition, 2021-22. 

View Abi Ola's

Chalk drawings done by children on the playground floor
Sustainability Warriors and Bin Designs
This month I have been working with Raynham Primary School as a workshop assistant with Cathy Wade, an artist who specialises in art sustainability. This has been a very exciting experience for me, working with children and being a part of teaching them how to improve their local area and school to make...
Installation including black and white painted wallpaper on the left hand side, white painted patterned chairs and tables at the centre, brown 4 foot 5 inch sized slim mirror, with a slightly shorter dancing female figure leaning against it. Towards the back, long, draping black and white curtains hang in front of the 10 foot tall window, and the ends of the curtains drape slightly across the ground in front of it. Right next to this is a four part multicoloured digital drawing palboard wallpaper narrow installation, between the curtains and the entrance. On top of this plaboard hangs a small painting. Lastly, in front of the narrow wallpaper, stands another black chair covered in hand drawn patterns.
Reflecting on the past (I'll be your Mirror, solo show).
About the project. My solo show which took place in March of this year at the Kupfer Gallery. The exhibition had a living room like feeling within the space and included an installation of chairs, tables, wallpapers, curtains, and lampshades.  Installation view of ‘I’ll be...
Naive drawing and purple, blue textile collage on white A4 paper in progress
Applique Cushion Workshop
Today I did an applique cushion cushion workshop at the Living Room Library in Edmonton. People of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds dropped by to design and make their own cushions. First I helped them to draw their designs onto paper using a variety of mediums such as, colouring pens and pencils,...
Abstract colourful textile and collage art with emojis
Finished Painting...
This week I finished a painting. It is called ‘Bow Legs’, 2023, oil, oil pastels, acrylic, marbles, fabrics, tassels, tissue papers, and screen print on canvas, 100x100cm. This piece uses emojis as a way of experimenting with depicting simple facial expressions. The face of the main character...
Yellow lion, blue flower against red and green background composed next to brown lion and oink flower against blue-green and black striped background, emojis from top to bottom on the left on composition and pink candies from top to bottom on right of composition
Digital drawings...
This is a design I am doing for a business shutter in Edmonton. Here I have used William Morris floral designs, smiley faces and sweet emojis, and African patterns from Dutch wax textiles, to emphasise how all of these things have influenced me, and the area that I live.
What I Have Been Working on This Week April 3rd to 8th.
This week I have been working on digital drawings, either through drawing in my sketch book, and then scanning it onto my computer, or directly drawing onto photoshop. Throughout all of these drawings and paintings, I have been playing with the theme of emojis, and things that I encounter in everyday...