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Gallery Talks: In Conversation with Ashiata Shaibu-Salami

In the final phase of our Gallery Talks series, we explore each artist's influence, process. and core themes depicted in their works - at our recent group exhibition ‘Interconnected’, in collaboration with Arneli Art Gallery. Shaibu-Salami Ashiata (b,1998) is a contemporary artist from Kogi state, Nigeria, She is a painter who considers life from diverse perspectives. Her journey into art emerged from her passion for art and the innate desire to communicate sub themes of freedom ‘the freedom to express ourselves, the freedom to live, the freedom to dream’

Her work also focuses on social complexities and in the artist’s words, ‘how these complexities have confined individuals to mental cages’. Shaibu creates bold figurative paintings with a statement, humanising her subjects, she vividly outlininges their state of mind, making commentary on these complexities portrayed in portraiture and a fusion of techniques.

What inspires your style?

My constant habit of capturing the moment is what inspires my current style. The use of images to tell stories in my paintings.

What sort of experimentation has led you to your current style as an artist?

My photography experimentation has led me to this current style. I have always been fascinated by my images so I uniquely use these images to tell stories in my paintings. It communicates to me more than the present individual or group of people.

Why did you start making art? How did you kickstart your artistic endeavour?

I have always been fascinated by art ever since I was a child. It's a way of expressing myself and an escape from reality. I decided to take it up professionally in 2021 cause it's something I love doing.

What other artists, genres or movements do you draw inspiration from?

I draw inspiration from the works of great artists like Van Gogh, Njideka, Marcillina, Olatoye David. I draw inspiration from nature /Serene environments, from reading books. My constant habit of capturing the moment also inspires me ( photography).

If you could change one aspect of society or social issues through your work, what would it be?

The issue of insecurity is one of the social issues I would love to change through my art.

What do you do to get into your creative zone?

I read books, watch movies , and take long walks. Also studying other people's works.

What are the biggest challenges you've had in your art?

The most challenging aspect of my art is the financial aspect. Most times the artworks are underpriced despite the hard work put into them.

What ultimate messages do your creative expressions convey?

"Freedom" is the ultimate message and a basic theme that my creative expressions convey.

Has technology had any impact on your artistic practice? In what ways has it affected or shaped it?

Yes technology has had a great impact on my artistic practice. First the gadgets I work with its much easier to convey my messages, secondly with the aid of technology I'm able study great artist and learn more about their works. Technology also helps create more awareness about my Works.

Are there recurring themes in your work, or any that have emerged as your work has evolved?

Freedom is a recurring theme in my works, the freedom to live, the freedom to dream.

What are you working on now and next?

Presently I'm working on a series titled "The Yellow Days" for my next exhibition.


INTERCONNECTED - A group exhibition of 18 women artists from across Africa and the Middle East; showcasing 36 works in a variety of mediums and perspectives outlined in paintings, mixed media and digital art. Bordering between the known and the unknown, abstraction and figuration; the selected artists examine the interconnected complexities of human experience detailed through distinct artistic styles and approaches - in personal theory and form. Visit the exhibition here.


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