Emojis in my Garden, 2023
Single channel video
4 minutes 07 seconds
The use of emojis helps me explore simple facial expressions and what they mean. They are very easy to draw due to the simplistic lines used to depict a smile, or a frown. This motif is understandable to many different cultures and transcends different languages.
– Abi Ola
Elongated body of a woman, 2023
oil, plasticine, and fabrics on natural indigo dyed fabric
30 x 42cm
The Front Sitting Room, 2023
oil, oil pastels, acrylic, fabrics, screen print, and plasticine on canvas
Throughout history, humans have used similar pictographic languages to communicate simple ideas, understandable to people across vast distances.
Bringing focus to patterns is also a way for me to divert people’s attention from their faces, encouraging them to find out about others simply through their choice of clothing.
– Abi Ola
Take inspiration from Abi’s works, then cut, combine, and collage as you create your own mixed-media self-portrait.
Send your collaged self portrait to firstname.lastname@example.org for it to be displayed in the Open Gallery.
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.