Born in Lagos State in 1997, Olamilekan Abatan is a Nigerian visual artist working with a powerful and contrasted combination of hyper realistic drawing techniques and popular local fabrics, to narratively represent and comment on global contemporary issues.
Abatan started drawing professionally after graduating from the Agidingbi Technical College (Ikeja, Lagos) in 2015. He later worked at the Rafhue Distinction Art Studio and at Sheyi Alabi Studio, before opening his own workshop in the centre of Lagos, where he works and lives.
His unique technique with charcoal on paper has allowed him to depict flesh-like realism while commenting on relevant social and political issues within the ongoing global conversation around Black Lives Matter, repatriation, gender inequality, and Pan African heritage.
The artist’s use of cut and collaged textiles stands out as a sublime counterpoint to his frontal subject matters, feeding the magnetic iconography of his work. While the long-delayed rise of Black Portraiture further contextualises his creation so far, for Abatan, art is above all an existential tool to contribute as a young male in Nigerian society.
Solo exhibitions (selection)
2021 Patterns, BLAACKBOX, Brussels, Belgium
2021 Tenacity, Terra Kulture, Lagos, Nigeria
2020 Re Mediation, The African Artist Foundation (AAF), Lagos, Nigeria
2019 The Making, Retro Africa Gallery, Abuja, Nigeria
2019 RAD X Art Exhibition, Lagos, Nigeria
2018 Made in Lagos, Lagos Nigeria
2020 Title Deeds Workshop, Lagos, Nigeria
2016-2017 Sheyi Alabi Studio, Lagos, Nigeria
2016 Rafhue Distinction Art Studio, Lagos, Nigeria
2015 Lagos State Art and Culture, Lagos, Nigeria
2012-2015 Government Technical College Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
ANTWERP Klaus Pas +41 78 614 54 02 / +32 468 57 56 57
BRUSSELS Thiemoko Claude Diarra +32 476 33 42 41
MIAMI Bayunga Kialeuka +1 305 390 6377