Destiny’s Child, 2019. Grass brooms (Umchayelo), church sticks, black paint, and resin, 78 x 180 x 66 cm. Photo: Courtesy the artist

Beyond Physicality: A Conversation with Adejoke Tugbiyele

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Nigeria, Adejoke Tugbiyele now lives and works in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, exploring a practice “charged with symbolic meanings.” As an artist and advocate, she bridges multiple cultures and synthesizes stubborn oppositions—masculine/feminine, dark/light, nature/culture. Her wire, natural fiber, fabric, found object, wood, and bronze sculptures fuse old ways and new directions into powerful hybrid forms that evoke and transcend the human body. Brought to life in performance, or animated through lighting, these works take on a magical energy that underscores how radical spirituality can liberate the body and mind, freeing us from the strictures of religion, class, and sexual or racial politics, replacing hate with love and acceptance—both of ourselves and others.

Robert Preece: You first studied architecture and then moved to art, receiving an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013. Have you realized any architectural projects? What have you carried over from architecture into art?
Adejoke Tugbiyele: In 2017, I completed two projects. I was commissioned by my parents to design a student hostel in Igbajo, Nigeria, adjacent to Igbajo Polytechnic. That same year, I completed a two-story home for my paternal grandmother—a sky-blue-colored, multi-bedroom house that considered the aesthetics of local forms and global shifts in design . . .

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