Headlands Center for the Arts

Yétundé Olagbaju

california | visual
Graduate Fellowship Program 2020—2021, Mills College

Artist Statement

With myths in hand, I excavate, investigate, and canonize the lives lived and the labor conducted by Black people. In my work, this often manifests in reenactments of the unseen labor, experiments in erasure, and rituals to transmute any harm inflicted.

All of this is with the question of how records of labor transform from recollection to myth, to archetype, and to effigy. I explore all possible answers through sculpture, action, gesture, and performance. 

My practice is galvanized by the desire to understand how facts can straddle the line between labor and lore. These bits of myth can flatten the complexities of hard work and as such collapse time completely. But in that collapse, new narratives can emerge, new ways of coping can form, and a better understanding of self can take shape. 

And through this process it is my hope that a kind of catharsis can arise.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands I will be creating sculptural, performative, and photographic pieces surrounding the building of a creation and death myth for the Mammy archetype. 

This body of work will be grounded in the desire to provide Mammy with experiences she has so often been denied: agency, sensuality, self preservation, joy, and wonder.

Banner image: Yétundé Olagbaju; Video still from 2019 performance how sweet can I be? how much will it cost?

 

Selected Video Work


Yétundé Olagbaju, How to Erase, 2019; Performance, sculpture, gesture, and video; © Yétundé Olagbaju


Yétundé Olagbaju, 10,000 Seconds fro Nancy Green, 2020; Performance, sculpture, gesture, and video; © Yétundé Olagbaju

 

 

Selected Works

Personal Website

http://yetundeolagbaju.com