I was 19, in my first year of University, away from home and felt very lonely. The stress of University work was also a burden and I just wanted to escape everything. That’s when I picked up a HB pencil and put it to printing paper for the first time in years.
I remember being much younger, around 8, and watching my older brother draw these life-like action figures and wanting to mimic him. He taught me how and in no time I was drawing my own superman and wolverine unsupervised, doodling wherever there was as little as a 5 by 5cm space in my homework book. It didn’t take me long however, to realize that as a girl there was only so many action figures I could draw before my attention began itching for something more delicate. That was when I developed my fascination for faces.
I never thought to take art for further study. It never really occurred to me that I was much better than the average child exploring creativity through her fingers. Thereafter I left art behind. Now here I am, over 10 years later, studying a Science degree and I find that I am still itching to put pencil and brush to paper.
The idea for Ilatoda (pronounced “ee la toe da”) came from a desire to reproduce my work and experiment with the versatility of art. Its meaning is derived from Yoruba – a West African dialect – literally equating to “Beautiful Lines”. I have found that it all begins with beautiful lines; I always start a piece with a series of them. They create the skeleton and structure of the face of my subject. They curve, lengthen and stand erect according to my right hand’s command, just like the lines on our individual faces. And collectively they create something beautiful. Yet at the end when you look at the bigger picture you will hardly notice them as if they had never been. But without them there would be no finished piece.