In November last year, our partner organisation Yinka Shonibare Foundation joined the Big Give Christmas Challenge; the UK’s biggest coordinated fundraising campaign. The purpose of the project was to crowdfund two six-week residencies at G.A.S. for a UK-based African Diaspora artist and a curator, with the intention of supporting the careers of emerging practitioners of African descent.
Last week our first Big Give funded resident, Seyi Adelekun, joined us at the G.A.S. Farm House in Ikise where she will be based for three weeks before returning to G.A.S. Lagos to complete the remainder of their residency.
Algae Meadow (2021), created by Seyi Adelekun and Wayward, in partnership with the V&A, and working with specialists from UCL and Imperial College London. Photograph © Luke O'Donovan.
What is the current focus of your practice?
My practice currently explores embodied knowledge within West African dance rituals and traditional craft, and its intimate relationship with the spiritual and physical realm. I’m interested in how embodiment practices can co-create spaces for healing and transformative change within the BIPOC community and contribute to decolonising the practices of ecology.
What drew you to this residency and how do you think it will inform your wider practice?
The G.A.S residency is a special opportunity for me to return to Nigeria after decades and reconnect with my heritage. Movement and craft is an important spiritual and healing practice in my life and I’m excited to learn and experience the significance it has in my ancestry and culture. I’m interested in exploring a movement practice inspired by the domestic, craft and agrarian ritual within Yoruba culture.
Plastic Pavilion (2019), a 16-square meter undulating canopy made of 1600 recycled plastic bottles filled with coloured water by Seyi Adelekun.
Can you give us an insight into how you hope to use the opportunity?
I wish to take this time and space to develop a practice rooted in the intersection of art, ecology and embodiment practices by connecting with the land, farmers, traditional artisans and movement artists. I am excited to experiment with making sculptures from foraged materials inspired by the local ecologies and daily practices that I experience.
Seyi Adelekun is a neurodivergent multidisciplinary artist and designer of Nigerian-British heritage. Her practice to date explores how public installation can inspire action to respond to the climate crisis, promote biodiversity and celebrate local ecologies. Her most notable work included Plastic Pavilion, an undulating, multicoloured mosaic canopy made of 1600 recycled plastic bottles, which aims to eradicate the concept of waste by elevating our perception of plastic as a beautiful material.
Seyi uses natural materials, permaculture principles and regenerative circular economy principles to develop work. One such example is Algae Meadow, an installation highlighting the important ecosystem between land, water and people, and the role of algae as a nutrient-dense biofertilizer for plants. Seyi uses natural materials, permaculture principles and regenerative circular economy principles to develop work. She sees the process of collective making as a tool to nurture healthier relationships with our environment and facilitates creative nature workshops with young people to encourage environmental stewardship.
Cob Oven (2017) designed and constructed by Seyi Adelekun for Long Way Home, a non-profit in Guatemala.