Kemi Onabule is a british artist of nigerian and greek heritage. Home-educated until the age of eleven, her artistic abilities were allowed to grow in a non-institutional setting. Having specified in painting for the last two years, she has developed portraiture, specifically focusing on close singular portraits of family and friends.
Her work mainly consists of portraiture using oil paint and canvas however she does work in acrylic and pencil. Her interest in art started at a very young age as she enjoyed everything from painting to sculpture.
"An obscured view, off balance, off centre, not quite right: The objects and occasionally people that populate my paintings may all be described in this manner. The imagery itself comes from photographs, direct observation and memories and is combined to create versions of disqueting yet familiar domestic spaces.
The catalyst for a painting can come in the form of an old abandoned toy, a particularly mundane corner of a room or an object that holds particular personal importance. I see all of these things as having equal potential when making work. The absence of the human presence within these interiors so obviously inhabited by human life, immediately raises questions. What has happened here? Who lives Here? and where are they?
By moving away from direct representations of the body I have sought to inject the work with subtleties that were unavailable to me when the figure was present.
The frame is used as a device for creating dimension within the paintings and offers the opportunity to see the paintings as more than just flat imagery, creating instead a sculptural set-like quality to them
Unconsciously the objects that inhabit the sepia spaces tend to be solitary, furthering the feelings of isolation and awkwardness within the work. My hope is that the viewer recognizes these neglected, yet familiar spaces in their own reality."
Wimbledon College of Art: BA Fine Art: Painting
'The Contemporary Portrait' 2015 Thompson's Gallery,
Camden Picture Gallery, London
Gallery 286, 2015 London
Preselected for the Royal Society of Potrait Artists (2016)
'Sky Arts portrait artist of the Year Award' 2013
'A little Book Of Portraits' 2014
Jerwood Drawing Prize 2015 Handler