Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2015.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We have come to the end of a wonderful year. I am grateful to you for following my work through the year and more importantly for your support during my first solo exhibition "Hairvolution" that took place in November.

Here is wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2015.

God bless!!!

Copyright ©Taiye Idahor 2014 All rights reserved.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Thank you for joining me for a successful opening of Hairvolution on the 8th of November and I appreciate everyone who has made time to visit the exhibition so far.
As the exhibition draws to a close this week Saturday, join me for an


Date: Thursday 27 November
Time: 6 pm
Venue: The Whitespace
58 Raymond Njoku street off Awolowo way Ikoyi Lagos

Installation shot "Hairvolution"
I will speak on my artistic process, my journey into art and more importantly on the project "Hairvolution" its origin, process and the future of this project as it evolves.

About Taiye Idahor

Taiye Idahor grew up in Lagos Nigeria, she studied Fine Art at the Prestigious Yaba College of technology Lagos Nigeria where she graduated in 2007 with a Higher National Diploma (HND) after specialising in sculpture in her final years at the college.
In the last four years Taiye Idahor has worked significantly within the concept of identity and women. 
She also works part time with the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos Nigeria.
She has participated in a number of exhibitions and workshops both home and abroad.

Hairvolution continues till Saturday 29th November 2014

Whitespace Gallery is open Monday- Friday 10am -6pm daily: Saturday from 11am : Closed on Sunday

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday!!

In other NEWS

Whose Centinary?

I would be participating in a Collaborative Project curated by InĂªs Valle with Peju Layiwola (project initiator), Jude Anogwih, Jelili Atiku, Victor Ehikhamenor, Andrew Esiebo, Elizabeth Olowu, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, George Osodi and Jumoke Verissimo called " Whose Centenary".

I am particularly happy about this project as it will be the first time I will be showing in my hometown. Benin City will be the location of the first exhibition of the project Whose Centenary? on the 6th and 7th of December 2014, featuring nine accomplished artists from Nigeria. The project is a critical analysis of significant historical aspects of Nigerian social, political and cultural memory, with a particular emphasis on 1914. The exhibition will explore themes around the centennial commemoration of the amalgamation of the northern and southern regions of Nigeria and the multi-layered nature and prevalent results of colonialism in Nigeria in the primordial space of Benin.
Click here to learn more on this project.

Have a great week!

Copyright © 2014 Taiye Idahor, All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In search of Ayie...

Hello there,

It's been hectic yet at the same time I it has been great fun preparing for my solo show and I am really excited about the show, I am in the middle of setting up and so far, the works look great just being able to them all at the same time. I have a small studio and it has been quite impossible to see more than two or three works at the same time. I also decided to include my " I am not my hair" installation, last minute decision but it looks good, and after all, its a continuation of that work in a way. I look forward to seeing you between Saturday 8 November and 28 November. Here is another recording, I really feel the need to have them here so you can understand me and my work. An artist statement can only summarize them please read statement here, please read if you can. Thank you.

Hey did I ever mention I was a twin? That's us below.

Taiye and Kehinde

21:06 April 20 2014
The overall or the most obvious reaction is on identity beginning from a conscious search for an identity that has been pretty unknown for a long time. In search of Ayie...
where ar u from
where are you from
where are you from
where are you from
where are you from.

This question is ringing in my head all the time.
Questioning my father was like hitting a brick wall, and how history gets lost so easily and its sad basically everything lies with a man who died in 1972, i really want to subsume this woman but how do I do this when I have nothing, I stare at my blank canvas and knowing you know nothing does give room for many possibilities but at the same time it's a risk.

As the project grows I thought I might explore the idea of multiplicity in order words reincarnation, do i believe it, no. I don’t have a strong understanding of it that's why but why did I decide to use it? I do not believe in it, but my father does and I can’t change anything about that fact, I can’t tell him to stop saying it, hence I stand on the belief of what another says I am.

I am now a connection to his mother.
My hair is my connection to her.
Hence my picture is of her.
This way, I can fill in many gaps.

Using this, a tension has been created between her and me, how do I deal with this?
The process and time put in this work is more the art than the finished work. The audience may not see what I see, or what I feel and remember unlike me when we look at the works. I am Fixing time and memory unto a canvas.

Weaving hides, as many is hidden from me.

Why not the whole face? Its that tension that makes for that, using the whole image means I won, but I didn’t its still about her.

Where are you from?
They only ask because of my hair, what would my life be like without this hair?

The works I create are questions and made out of many series of questioning, black doesn’t mean... but black questions the emptiness, the fragilty of newsprint doesn’t mean... but questions the different the validity of the stories I have heard about Ayie. Everything on the canvas is made out of a question.

Working on a canvas and newsprint doesn’t mean... but I question the fragility of memory as time evolves.
Black- I started from a dark place of major uncertainty
Photos, photos in half, yes reincarnation but this isn't about me, tension begins, we come to an agreement, half of the face neither me or her.

But my friend visits and instantly recognizes me on the canvas, tension begins again, I wash and I rub and I brush away, did it help? You need a closer look. The image almost gets lost in the canvas, at night its lost, only in the light you see.

When I get the question where are you from, this is a question I put to Ayie too.
Location= maps

My father always had a map of Cyprus he always said she was from there, how or why that came about I don’t know. But my conversation with him assumes a different possibility. I wanted to use maps of Cyprus, I downloaded many to my computer, but the next conversation with my dad threw me off course and I began to doubt Cyprus. So I would imagine a place by drawing contours of a map from my mind while I re-live the conversations in my mind.

I kept my map reading text book from secondary school it was my bestest subject. I started to read about them again... Contours represent an actual place on ground, using contours as an idea, I create these lines and movements that represent an unknown place. The contour lines resemble veins...
The contour lines represents questions of - Where is she from?
The mirrored newsprint makes you understand the feeling of knowing something is there but you just cant make it out.
You can see something without understanding it but you know what it is,
Everytime I am in front the canvas I get lost in thought and I feel helpless as I do not know what I should do, I am very unsure and unclear and I would just sit and pace around for hours not knowing what to do, I made sketches though but the canvas was another space to conquer I struggled because I wanted to be sure on how to express nothingness, loss, if that is possible.

How many works have you made? They would ask – None
I made a sculpture marquee though, of two women one standing and the other sitting with hair larger and bigger than their form growing larger, a burden it seems
I look at them like I am not the artist and I see an identity crisis how do I say this...
I made the other sculpture I am not my hair and I see it as a continuation, weight and burden
I am not... I am not... I am not... I am not...
I am not Ayie!
Another level – the value women give to hair
Do I make sense at all

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

You are cordially invited to the opening of my first solo exhibition,   

Finding Ayie 1 2014

Saturday 8 November 2014
Whitespace Gallery
58 Raymond Njoku street off Awolowo way Ikoyi Lagos
This project began through a simple but important question that I have been confronted with since I was a child, Is this your hair? This question is asked because my hair is black and wavy.
This perennial question has elicited a journey of self discovery of which the point of departure is a focus on my family history. It started with a series of meetings and conversations with my father and mother asking questions about Ayie, my paternal grandmother whose identity has remained elusive and from whom my hair characteristics seem to have originated.
As I reflect daily on the importance of my parent's memories, its fragility become increasingly more apparent. A change of location or death is no longer a criteria for a disappearing history as is the case with Ayie.

Join me on this quest.

Exhibition runs 8- 28 November 2014
WhiteSpace Gallery is open Monday- Friday 10am -6pm daily: Saturday from 11am : Closed on Sunday

For more inquiries about the exhibition or the artist send an email to contacttaiyeidahor@gmail.com 

I look forward to seeing you!!
Copyright © 2014 Taiye Idahor, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Simple maths: If a=b Then b=a

It's been a busy few weeks, trying to finish the works and at the same time doing all the organisation as well, it's just the reality of being an artist here in Nigeria, hence the late post so I apologize. 

Also I would like to officially invite you to the exhibition, everything is almost set and here is the invitation and I look forward to seeing you there. It runs for 3 weeks so there's plenty time to stop by. There is also another blog I created specifically for the show where the works can be previewed just in case you are unable to come see it. I will try my best to be at the gallery everyday after the show opens, please feel to contact me when you want to visit so I can give you a tour.

Anyway here are two more recordings and I would have to make up for the posts that should have been up already.

21st February 2014
I have been looking for answers since last year when I decided to work on this as a project on Ayie and now its February yet nothing, will this project start?? But I need to start so instead of answers, I move forward with questions, I don’t know where to begin, I know nothing, my mind is empty??
So I’m thinking about sculptures, how do you make a sculpture of a person you have never seen? Where do I begin, where’s the starting point?

Working in the studio last week

24th Feb 2014 (I start to create the first portrait, the one you see in the invitation)
The portrait I am creating with the weaves, create a certain movement that seem ... amoebic in form
My hair is my connection to Ayie and my daily and constant reminder and sometimes a burden. 

More and more I love the endless possibilities of news-prints and this is a performance in itself, when its woven, I take away its voice so it doesn't speak then it becomes just a tool, I give it a new voice.

She once came, there must be information about her somewhere but I can’t find it, the woven newsprint is visible, you can identify it but you can’t read it...

And just allowing the woven paper travel on the canvas in different directions just shows you how my mind is travelling creating many “maybe” situations.

A pa says I'm his mother, he calls me mummy sometimes, he says she reincarnated through me...
I am using this idea or concept of reincarnation to represent multiplicity, being 2 people in 1 body. Its like a maths equation that says if a=b then b=a

Hence my pictures can be pictures of her, and I now begin to take her form and begin to take over these questions that I am asking about her, so now I ask myself what is my name, where am I from, what do I look like? Etc

I was probably on facebook or instagram
Thank you for stopping by, more info soon and please share if you will!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Free Hair...How Dare I!!!

Apologies for this late post and aside falling ill and struggling to settle on a space for my show, I am happy to announce that the exhibition will open in November 2014 at the Whitespace located on Raymond Njoku off Awolowo way Ikoyi Lagos.
So here is the next recording from February of 2014.

20th Feb 2014
Due to the lack of information available on Ayie( My father's mother), her absence creates room for a lot of possibilities in the work itself but one must tread carefully not to get out of focus in the midst of having too many options. 

It has become like a play ground where a lot can be assumed, names, faces, events, if i were a writer, there would be so many ways the story could be told, all I would need are words. But how do I make up for these in art?

But for this first part of the project that I see expanding into different channels, I think its important that i focus on a certain person or at least create a LINEAR TRAJECTORY, where does it start, so Ayie is that beginning.

I could focus on Ayie or Elena (another name I hear), then me and then a broader view of women through history, whats the connection... There may exist similarities but that’s a lot to deal with and nothing will be in focus... too broad...

There are many different levels to this project and future projects are already evolving especially if I am able to find a specific beginning.

So what do I really want?? The primary reason for this project is to show where I am coming from as regards this theme of hair which I have explored for the past few years. Also it must show how society forced me to confront my history through a simple but powerful question “Is this your hair?” hearing that question everyday for many years will do something to you and it is where I am now, searching for the answer to the question that usually follows “where are you from?

untitled: Collage drawing on tracing paper: 2014 : Taiye Idahor

The crave for HAIR in Lagos...

I have lived in Lagos all my life and women are just in love with their hair and other women’s hair, so it comes with no surprise when I become the topic of discussion when I am in gatherings. Observe how women are spending serious money and time and more time on their hair and here i am having it for free... how dare I! 
Who says skin colour or hair texture  doesn't matter, lies you tell!!... the politics thatbe have re-branded! MASS MEDIA!!
I think beauty is another form of colonization... yes I do!

For many years I was ignorant about the question and I was never bothered after all I never knew her neither did my father and the only person who did (or least that I’m sure knew her) was my grandfather who died in August of 1972 before I was even born.

Ayie’s story is set in the colonial time...
Through this project it will reflect a broader picture of how society directs our minds, one learns what rejection and pressure means.

The crave for beauty, how society wants you to look a certain way. The same way repetition plays a major influence on the minds of people which is what advertising does and commercialism, I reuse this method of repetition to remain a memory in people’s mind. And this originally came from the idea of reincarnation, a belief that is strong with the Benin people and of which my parents believe in. My brother is called Babatunde and although I am Taiye, not a name that symbolises reincarnation, my father believes I am a reincarnation of his mother, and even still my mother says I am a reincarnation of someone else. 

Multiplicity has set in... being several people all in one!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Questioning Yourself About Yourself

A voice record log from February

There have been many inconsistencies in the stories I have heard surrounding the circumstances of my father’s birth and this is very discouraging in the process of this project. How do I begin to fill the blank space and emptiness and get answers to many questions I have, as I embark on this journey into the history of my family. There’s nothing to connect her with or to its almost as though she never existed. 

Simple questions like what was her name, who was her family, where she was from...
“Where” brings me to the idea of maps and contours... assuming and expressing possibilities of the “where”?
What did she look like? Brings me think about portraits and faces, they would be propositions of an identity. I stared playing with shifts like the one in our Ankara fabrics, yes those involuntarily mistakes that became a trend.
How do I express an imperfectness, an incompleteness... loss, vacuum...

As I begin to ask these questions I am trying to ask myself the same, not yet though, but I am thinking about why I am not asking myself these questions, and that is because I assume I know the answers. But do i really? 

Untitled drawing and collage. 2014

What is her name
Where is she from
What did she look like
Did she marry and have other children
What was the colour of her hair
Was she tall
Was she white
Why did she leave
Did she come back
Did she try to find her son

These same questions I ask about her is what I am beginning to ask myself, who am I? Where am I from, What do I look like, What do I like?

A series a questions as simple as they are, will eventually matter in staying relevant in time, questions I should ask myself in order not to disappear. 
There is a certain fear that looms around, the fear of not wanting to be forgotten, and now consciously I feel the need to write myself into history, trying to exist by force, writing my name and fixing myself into time, its by force oo.
Women need to begin to question themselves about themselves. 

From my mother’s side on the other hand, my mother could narrate the history of her family from both her mother’s side and father’s side, the road they treaded, the journeys they made, they children they had, the houses they lived in, the food they ate, all in words. But not many have heard these stories...

Present Reality

I changed my mind about the images, the selected image form part of a series of drawings and collages I am currently making for an installation piece. So I have decided I will include one or two of these drawings in each post. They are about a4 sized and the more I draw, the larger the installation, its better you see each one individually cos when they are brought together... ok I don't know, let's see how it works out.

Thanks for stopping by and do come again! ( They say that in stores?!)
And do like my Facebook page here. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Is this an Identity Crisis?

February 05 2014

Ayie is a symbolic representation of women who have experienced some disconnect from history for different reasons. For Ayie it was presumably family, her father they say. She represents women willing to take control, to be noticed, its not about rebellion or fighting, but just choosing to exist, accepting who we are. 

The role of men and women differ they have never been the same, it is not a contest.

Women want to be noticed, to be spoken about, referenced but I doubt the definition of this statement is consistent as we move from woman to woman. 


For the most times, its a case of temporal fame and hype then you cease to exist beyond the moment, but one has to keep up with a certain trend or facade to remain relevant or at least visually present; to what gain, is another topic entirely. 

Ayie speaks to women who have abandoned themselves in search of unrealistic and dreamlike inventions and definitions of a woman fed by mass media, magazines, television...
Colonization continues but willingly we have accepted and worn the chains ourselves.

If you have any questions or comments as regards this post please share on this facebook link, blogspot has issues with commenting and even replying comments can be a hassle. 
Thank you for reading!! Please like my Facebook page and please feel free to share. Thanks

NOTE: my words and thoughts are not set in stone but are daily being shaped by events or new discoveries.

Monday, August 11, 2014

New PROJECT in Progress!

At last I am happy to announce that my new project is in progress and my blog will get active again, thank goodness. Don't get me wrong, I have been working oo, I just haven’t connected enough to the things I have been doing not because I didn't believe in them but rather I lacked understanding but I knew what I was doing I just didn’t have the words or probably not bold enough to share.

My new project... wait should I call it new???
I haven’t moved away from what I have been doing but the work has definitely evolved and so has my thinking these days. So it isn’t exactly new but I would say it started last year, thinking through it, experimenting;which I love to do, playing with materials and possibilities.
I hope I can show the work this year, planning a show in Lagos is so expensive, sponsorship is hard to find but I have postponed it long enough and I will show it by hook or by crook, my last resort... : I show it here on this blog, I’m tired of waiting for all conditions to be right, this Nigeria, nothing is ever perfect!

Anyway since last year I have been making voice recordings about what I have been thinking about and what I want from the project. I started this way because first of all it’s about my grandmother who’s identity is unknown and I had nothing to work from and in order to start, words were all I had. I didn’t start making actual work till this year maybe like in March or so, before then I was experimenting or should I saying playing with objects and reading but its those ideas I am using now.

So one by one I will post these ramblings which I have typed out. I do not like the sound of my voice hence I will not post the actual recording. And besides I was making zero sense most of the time and I repeated a lot of things which is fine. No art starts out perfect, you learn to find yourself gradually, hence consistency is key. I know a lot of people don’t understand what I do, or why I do what I do, you’re not alone. I’m learning but my work has never come from thin air that I can promise you, there is always an anchor to connect with, which is why I am really excited about this project as it does bring to light more understanding of my past work and maybe future works.

I won’t be posting any images at all till exhibition time. I’ll tell you why.
I want you to feel what I experienced in making this work (frustration mostly), having words and no physical objects to back up any claims to the stories I was told. This was my struggle, how do I take words and turn them to art, physical tangible art.
Please try and follow my ramblings, at the beginning I wasn’t making sense but as it progresses, you would see and understand better (I hope) what my work is about, you will see what I am reading and understand how I am choosing to shape my mind. Yes its a choice!!

May I also add that my stay in Dakar during the biennale and the Asiko programme ( I will post something on that soon ) really influenced my thought process, they helped give volume to the thoughts I had already. Like I said earlier, I know what I am doing but I just didn’t have that cushion to bounce off my thoughts. How does one reference, who or what is a “valid” reference were major issues I had.
I have been able to find people through books that are thinking on the same ideas I have,  and not just anyone, but people from the same cultural background. No offense to western artists but as a Nigerian artist living on the continent of Africa, it would only make sense to lean towards the cultural ideals of my location and identity. This is what encourages me that I am making sense hence that built my confidence in forging ahead with the work. 

Like Olu Oguibe said in his book The Culture Game, and I quote: 

“To perpertualy counter a center is to recognize it. In other words discourse- our discourse- should begin to move in the direction if dismissing, at least in discursive terms... ” 

The centre I use in this work is mostly based on my family’s stories, and I am confident that is enough to build on.
Enough said and probably enough questions created as well. First post starts tomorrow and continues weekly till I show the work ( so help me God).
If you have any questions or comments as regards these posts please share on this facebook link, blogspot has issues with commenting and even replying comments can be a hassle. 
Thank you for reading!! Please like my Facebook page and please feel free to share. Thanks

NOTE: my words and thoughts are not set in stone but are daily being shaped by events or new discoveries.