Creating art is a way for me to investigate my thoughts and experiences. I find painting and drawing to be reflective processes that allow me to transform introspective moments into visual art. Making portraits has been a consistent part of my art practice, I am drawn to the unique beauty that each person possesses. Portraits are more than just an image, everybody has their own aura or story that I like to convey through my work. Lately, I’ve been interested in the way aspects of black cultures such as fashion and music are appropriated into the mainstream.
My background as a Nigerian-American informs my current studio practice as I collect parts of my everyday life to gather inspiration. Through my artwork, I want to explore the ways African culture informs African American culture in the present. The beginning of my work reflecting my cultural identity started with a piece I made my freshman year, of my dad and younger brother. It was referenced from a photo I took of them at church and I was interested in the juxtaposition of my father who immigrated from Nigeria, wearing a westernized suit while my brother was wearing traditional Nigerian attire. It spoke to the way we as first-generation kids can reclaim the culture our families left behind to assimilate. That painting was the first I ever sold, which made me realize that I could really impact others with my art.
Abigail Oyesam is a member of the Black Student Union – BSU and a senior at the Kansas City Artist Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Painting (anticipated: 2022)