Sola Olulode

Multilayered, dream-like canvases provide refuge for Black queer love.

Sola Olulode sitting on the floor in her studio with several large paintings propped against the wall behind her
Artist sitting cross-legged on the floor holding a paintbrush dipped in black paint with a painting in front of her
Artist holding paintbrush up to add details to a yellow painting with two figures on it
5 images

Sola Olulode was born in 1996 and raised in South London, where she continues to live and work.

Career

Engaging with critical discourse alongside her practice, Sola has delivered artist talks at London College of Communication and Wimbledon College of Art. In 2021, her work was featured in curator Aindrea Emelife's exhibition Bold Black British at Christie's in London.

Did you know?

Blue and yellow feature prominently in Olulode's palette. Moving through distinct phases of working primarily in each colour, on several occasions the artist has dyed her hair to match her paint of choice.

Follow up

Interested in this artist?
Sign up for updates to get the inside track on upcoming collaborations and exclusive access to new releases.

Exclusively on Avant Arte

Artist Sola Oluloede hand-finishing her print in her studio - close up
All of my work is personal to me and my identities, that’s why I look specifically at relationships between black women.Sola Olulode

Exhibitions

Practice overview

Olulode’s expressionist style fuses abstraction and figuration. The romantic vignettes focus on subtle, mundane expressions of intimacy with a warm palette of deep toned blues, yellows and greens. Drawing from her British-Nigerian heritage, she uses a range of processes including assemblage, batik, Adire dyeing and impasto inspired by research into Yorubean art forms in Southwestern Nigeria. Olulode is heavily influenced by London’s QTIPOC nightlife, as well as the acute absence of Blackness in the city’s art galleries and institutions. Centring the Black queer femme in her multi-layered, textural works, Olulode’s practice sits alongside prolific Black British artists like Lubaina Himid, Sonia Boyce and Chris Ofili.

Olulode’s tender scenes illustrate the fluidities of gender and emotion. Loving You Is Like Living on a Wave (2019) is an abstract diptych in cerulean blue overlaid with two images of a couple, or perhaps an image of two couples, in an affectionate embrace. On the left, a figure’s head is tilted back - ecstatic - in response to their lover’s kiss. The poetically-titled work lifts the everyday beauty of Black queer love to a fantastical realm. Olulode calls vital attention to the damaging effect of the white heteronormative gaze on BIPOC folk. One way in which she does this is by reimagining the images she sees on social media, basing her works on freeze frames of videos gone viral. Through this gesture, Olulode redresses the oftentimes crude interpretations of queer intimacies, and instead, depicts what she feels is missing in QBIPOC representation: memories and fantasies where queer bodies thrive. Defying time and space, Olulode suspends her figures in tranquility and love - untethered to context and politics.

“I craved the intimacies I had with Black womxn, so I painted many scenes dedicated to those relationships.” Sola Olulode

Journals about this artist