Adeyemi Adegbesan is a visual artist also known as Yung Yemi is a Toronto based photographic artist whose practice aims to examine the intersectionality of black identity. Reflecting on blackness through pre-colonial – colonial – present day and future timelines, across regions, religions, varying levels of income, and political lines; Adegbesan interrogates the dichotomy of the richness of black experiences with the imposed societal homogeneity of ‘Blackness’. Through his work Adegbesan pulls from these varying elements to create Afro-futuristic portraits that embody history, future, and culture all in one.
“I find myself constantly reflecting on what it has meant to be black through time (like pre-colonial, colonial, present day, and future), across regions, across religions, across different levels of income, and across political lines. There is so much diversity within the concept of ‘blackness.’ But at the same time, we are still so often tokenized by society. It’s this crazy duality that I feel exists within every black person: you have this amazing history and legacy of cultural richness, and all these different experiences and values, and then you have the homogeneous label of being “black” which in a lot of ways conceals all of that diversity and all of that history, at least to the untrained eye. What I’m doing with this body of work is trying to pull together references to all of these different elements that are part of being black to create these portraits that embody the history and future and the culture all in one. But then on the outside, they’re just painted black. It’s all those thousands of different pieces, but then at the same time you just see ‘black.’ That’s where I’m coming from with it.”
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