The exciting and colourful artist Joseph Ijoyemi is showing his first collection of paintings in a solo exhibition at the leading contemporary art gallery 508 Gallery, in Kings Road, Chelsea from October 12 to 20.
The emerging artist’s collection is called Jag HeterTokunbo. The intriguing name describes much of his life story. He was born and raised in Sweden until the age of 12 and, as part of the only African family in a small town, experienced racial abuse.
Joseph says: “It caused me to question my identify. I never had confidence but being able to express my story in art has given me confidence.”
Jag Heter is Swedish for ‘my name is’ and Tokunda is a Nigerian name given to Joseph meaning ‘born abroad’. The exhibition explores his journey from racial abuse to acceptance, to celebrating his culture in today’s society. It showcases playful paintings which are both abstract and figurative.
He says: “I want to show young people that they can express themselves through art, that you have a voice.”
Symbolism is used to represent themes running through Joseph’s experiences. For example, the Crown symbolises courage, the red diamond the inner darkness faced in life and the Lion leadership.
“The exhibition will stem from my life experience, what I have seen both bad and good, what I believe in and also what is really happening in our society now and addressing the issue through visuals.”
JOSEPH IJOYEMI: JAG HETER TOKUNBO – October 12-20
Opening: Oct 11, 6.30-8.30pm