Suraj Adekola, born 1983, is a Nigerian artist currently living in Manchester, UK. His work is informed by post-colonial narratives. Through painting, installation, and drawing, he uses elements of contemporary and historical material to explore themes of migration, diversity, integration, belonging, and identity politics.
Suraj repurposed traditional Adire (tie-dye) fabric as surface for his paintings instead of the conventional canvas, and as an installation. Adire is an indigenous and popular indigo-tie-dyed fabric - decorated with a resist-dyeing technique to create striking patterns - made in his hometown Egbaland, Abeokuta, a capital of Adire making in Nigeria. The fabric became part of ways in which the artist defines and entrenches his identity as Black. It is interesting how material can connect us to the idea of home, or to another landscape in which it can be transported and reinforce a sense of identity and belonging.
His new body of work is a tribute to Blacks; their loud silence, their undelivered feelings, their worth, their beauty, their unrecognised contribution to the growth of Western world. These characteristics that often fall into the shadows are what his new body of work consumed.