Tunji Adeniyi-Jones

Deftly choreographed paintings that call upon the sacred and sublime.

Tunji Adeniyi Jones stood in front of two large purple canvases with his head resting on his fist
Artist's studio with nine large works on paper taped to the wall above a desk
Tunji Adeniyi Jones holding a paintbrush up to two large canvases with red and blue paint
7 images

Tunji Adeniyi-Jones was born in 1992 in London, UK, and is currently based in New York, USA.

Accolades

After receiving his MFA from Yale, Adeniyi-Jones was the inaugural recipient of the Black Rock Residency in Senegal, and in 2020 appeared in the art and style section of Forbes' iconic 30 Under 30 list.

At Auction

The artist's sought-after originals have led to a series of exponential auction results, most recently when painting Love Ritual was purchased for $208,379 in 2021 - more than triple its estimate.

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Exhibitions

Practice overview

Adeniyi-Jones creates expressive paintings of fluid patterns, decadent palettes and rhythmic figuration. Being both British and Nigerian, he roots his practice in revealing the influence of African art forms on European art history. Techniques such as batik and monotype depict Yoruba rituals in recreations of traditional masks, scarifications, dances and deities. The artist’s figurative take on colour field abstraction is informed by canonical painters like Aaron Douglas and Ben Enwonwu, while classical African and Greek statues of royalty, athletes and gods have inspired Adeniyi-Jones to render his painted figures like sculptures. Adeniyi-Jones also draws from personal memory and the domestic spaces of his childhood. Poised, proud and agile, the figures allow ancestral, diasporic stories to unfold.

Adeniyi-Jones suffuses his paintings with spirituality. Eshu (2017) is named after the orisha (deity) Eshu - the trickster god of the Yoruba. The painting shows two figures wearing a three-faced mask immersed in a background of royal blues with red detailing. By referencing traditional West African sculpture, and performances in which participants wear masks and dance to communicate with the orisha, Adeniyi-Jones connects the work with specific metaphysical traditions: in place of dance, the canvas itself evokes the spirit of Eshu. Calling to mind the sacred and sublime, Adeniyi-Jones anchors cross-cultural memory and mythology to the physicality of bodies in motion.

“The body is a great conductor and storyteller - focusing my art around it makes perfect sense.”Tunji Adeniyi-Jones

Journals about this artist