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Artist Highlight: ADETONA OMOKANYE

By Saige Friedman

Adetona Omokanye is a Nigerian visual artist and filmmaker whose work focuses on under-reported social issues, culture, politics, health and the environment, working to bring attention to the neglected parts of society.

Omokanye’s exceptional work has been recognized for its impact, such as a documentary investigation he carried out in 2018 on the environmental and occupational hazards in the lead-acid battery recycling industry in Lagos and Ogun state. This project, “The Poisoned Village”, was critical to both environmental and human health, illustrating his commitment to making a difference through his work. In recent years, he has also received the Creative Bursary Award on Disability stories, and had his photo “Moment in Time” selected as one of five to be included in a publication by Photography Museum Mobile.

When discussing his latest project, Omokanye explains, “I started the Spiritually Fashionable collection in 2020, when I went to document a religious festival called ‘Anyodolu’ in Lagos. My initial aim was to document cultural practices for historical purposes, but then I was caught up in how fashionable the religious figures of this festival were looking.”

By juxtaposing religious figures with models wearing contemporary African fashion, Adetona Omokanye invites his audience to visualize the Anyodolu as a fashion spectacle, and aims to show how belief systems, tradition, and culture shape contemporary fashions and style. Omokanye also provides insight into his creative process, explaining that his choice of “juxtaposing male masquerades with female models as complements is a deliberate attempt to create a gender-based antithesis.

Find Adetona Omokanye’s collection Spiritually Fashionable at the on-site art exhibition during Fashion Art Toronto’s S/S 2023 fashion week. Reserve your tickets here before they sell out!


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