Prof. Peju Layiwola's solo exhibition Indigo Reimagined at the J.F. Ade Ajayi Auditorium Gallery at the University of Lagos was open to the public between the 13th June and the 30th July, 2019. The exhibition makes an important contribution to the discourse on the Yoruba adire (Adi’ meaning to tie and ‘re’ meaning to dye) textile traditions, building upon existing knowledge of this established practice and framing it through the lenses of history, gender, globalization and the environment. Layiwola's work is an invitation to 'reimagine' the creation and uses of these textiles as a metaphor for socio-political ideas. The exhibition also reflexively speaks of the practices surrounding the making of this fabric and the histories of indigo dyeing. There is a wide range of work on display with diverse materials: glazed ceramic pots, rich tapestries of fabric, 3-dimensional foam templates, steel panels, and resin and copper releifs.
The ArtoP team was fortunate enough to be able to see the exhibition before its official opening, with Prof. Layiwola present we were able to discuss the different pieces and their significance. In some cases, she interjects on semiotics of the motifs used in these designs, (typically taught from mother to daughter) by introducing contemporary iconography such as emoji smiling faces or text, making a comment about the trajectories of practices in this form. Her engagement with history is not only framed by technique and form, but also one that makes a much deeper political points about colonialism and contemporary politics. Her pieces Body Blue (2019) and Even Mother's Wrapper Couldn't Cover (2019) introduce disembodied hands and feet over the resin reliefs, that remind the viewer of the
the hands that weave, that tie, that paint, that dye, that have been seperated from the body as a result of terrorist activity. The lone doll-like child, or child-like doll also suggest death and destruction'. Borgatti, J. (2019:07)
Oloko, P., Tokunbo, I. (2019) eds., Indigo Reimagined: A solo exhibition by Peju Layiwola, Department of Creative Arts: University of Lagos.
Borgatti, J. (2019), 'More than Three 'R's: The Protean Work of Peju Layiwola', in Oloko, Tokunbo (eds.), Indigo Reimagined: A solo exhibition by Peju Layiwola, Department of Creative Arts: University of Lagos, pp 6-7.
Barbican Art Gallery [John Picton et al]. The Art of African Textiles: Technology, Tradition and Lurex. London: Lund Humphries, 1995.
Picton, John, and John Mack. African Textiles, 2nd ed. London: British Museum, 1989.