Artist Tour: Tayo Adekunle

20 July 2021 

Artist Tayo Adekunle leads a tour of her first online solo exhibition at Workplace Foundation.  


TW: This video includes references to sensitive topics including: slavery and racism.



Tayo Adekunle

10th June - 11th July 2021

Workplace Foundation

34 Ellison Street Trinity Square,


(demolished 2009)


Adekunle uses self-portraiture to expose issues of race, gender and sexuality whilst investigating racial and colonial history. Through re-working historical stereotypes she highlights the fetishisation, sexualisation and western gaze on black female bodies. This exploration runs throughout her series Reclamation of the Exposition and Venus Noire as well as her most recent work Yemoja to create a rich presentation of the colonial perception of the black female body.


Sarah Baartman - a Khoikhoi woman from South Africa named 'Hottentot Venus' who was brought to Europe in 1810 and exhibited in Britain and France - was the catalyst for Adekunle’s exploration into the past and present treatment of the black female body. Through referencing ‘master’ painters in her compositions, Adekunle brings to light whichfemale bodies were depicted and confronts the viewer with this fact.


Adekunle references her Nigerian heritage and draws on personal connections to the fabrics used for sets in each image. The use of contemporary western clothing as well as more traditional Nigerian textiles demonstrates that these perceptions and issues are still very much rooted in the present.


Tayo Adekunle (b.1997) lives and works in Edinburgh, UK. She completed her BA in Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art in 2020. Recent exhibitions include: COUP DE FOUDRE, Insurgency Gallery and Five Years, London; A Quest That’s Just Begun, Wooosh Gallery with Generator Projects, Dundee; and Butter on Bacon, Hospitalfield, Arbroath.