Samuel Olayombo (born 1991) is a Nigerian artist who studied fine and applied arts at the University of Benin. A lover of texture, Olayombo works with oils, acrylics, charcoal and pastels to create vibrant, dramatic, large scale canvases of predominately male, non-gender normative portraits. Using a palette knife to convey intricate, 3-dimensional skin textures, Olayombo pays homage to classic artists such as Vincent Van Gough and Arja Valimaki in his work. His fascination with ’scarring’ prevalent in certain Yoruba cultures as well as toxic masculinity, macho male culture and constructs of sexuality, gender roles and gender equality are the key narratives Olayombo explores within his compositions.
Growing up with five sisters in a patriarchal society has influenced his work in his choice of colour tones preferring traditionally “female” colours, like rose and pastel pinks, to depict his seemingly “brute” masculine subjects like his Cowboy series:
I saw a lot of unfairness. For me, regardless of gender, we are all equal and this is the major reason why I employ the colour pink in my paintings. I want to correct the notion that pink is feminine.
2022 ‘UNCHAINED: The Cotton Candy Cowboys’, ADA\ contemporary art gallery, Accra, Ghana
Selected Group Exhibitions
2020 ‘Fate IV’, Alexis Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria ‘
2019 IMPART Artists Fair
Portrait of the artist. Courtesy of The Noldor Residency.