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Ed Cross Opens Sola Olulode Solo Exhibition: Burning, Like The Star That Showed us to our Love

Ed Cross

10 August - 16 September, 2023 | London, UK


Ed Cross is delighted to present Sola Olulode's Burning, like the star that showed us to our love, an immersive solo exhibition of new work in yellow, focusing on the near-universal – and all-consuming – experience of falling in love. Charged with the electricity of a budding romance, Burning imbues everyday scenes with something preternatural.



Into the tunnel of Love , 2023 Oil and charcoal on canvas 63 x 53 cm | Courtesy of Ed Cross

Echoing the sunny bliss of romantic infatuation in its palette, Olulode's latest work follows blue and green series in which the artist depicted relationships across communities as well as between couples. In a sequence verging on storyboard, the artist returns again and again to a couple as their romance blossoms: meeting, dancing late at night; huddled around a table on a date; wrapped around each other, blissful. And despite the variability of Burning’s works – in terms of narrative, materiality, scale – Olulode’s insistence on joy for her protagonists is unwavering. Her symbolism is intuitively legible: in In the Bubble of Your Love, bubbles rising around the lovers evoke the anechoic obliviousness that can accompany infatuation; elsewhere, a recurring sun motif represents warmth, light, love. In the immersive surrounds of Burning, that mood proves infectious.


Working from found images as well as imagination and experience, Olulode’s tableaus balance introspective subjectivity and expansive generosity; wielding the soaring cinematography of a still from If Beale Street Could Talk (as in Whatever the Weather) and the irresistible appeal of a music video, the artist intersperses aspirational snapshots with her own fantasies: in her words, “I paint the things I want to see”. In Burning, like the star that showed us to our love, as elsewhere, Olulode paints Black queer women and non-binary people – demographics for whom pop-culture has historically offered little in the way of happy endings. Intent on illustrating success and pleasure for the marginalised communities with which she identifies, Olulode’s Burning beguiles its audience, entreating them to settle in the gallery space and luxuriate in the love story unfolding on its walls.


ABOUT THE ARTIST


SOLA OLULODE (b. 1996, London) is a British Nigerian artist living and working in London. Presenting nuanced and tender visions of intimacy and community, Olulode’s wistful images are celebrations of Black identity, womanhood and non-binary people. Distinguished by their use of gestural brushwork, indigo dye, wax, oil bar, impasto and monochromatic schemes (typically in blue, green or yellow) the artist’s compositions speak strongly of her Nigerian heritage while centring the representation and visibility of Black Queer lived experiences. Recent exhibitions include Reverie, Dada Gallery, Lagos, 2023; To Be Held, Carl Freedman Gallery, Margate, 2023; Could You Be Love, Sapar Contemporary, New York, 2022; Summer Show #1, Ed Cross, London, 2022; Bold Black British, Christie’s, London, 2021; Stäying Alive, Berntson Bhattacharjee, Sweden, 2021; An Infinity of Traces, Lisson Gallery, London, 2021, and Blacklisted: An Indefinite Revolution, Alice Black, London, 2020.

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Ed Cross Opens Sola Olulode Solo Exhibition: Burning, Like The Star That Showed us to our Love

August 21, 2023

Art Report Africa

2 min read