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Interview: Folasade Adeoso Talks Digital Art, Destiny's Child & Tumblr

Folasade Adeoso is more than 'just a model' she's a artist taking the blogosphere by storm with her digital reappropriations of colonial and fashion photography


Fola, Mother Nature The Overseer of My Journey (The Child's Point of View) (2013)

Folasade Adeoso is something of an online sensation. Fashion blogs love her, and in the blogosphere her work as a model with New York photographers like Kwesi Abbensetts and Barron Claiborne picks up thousands of likes, reblogs and shares. But there's another side to Fola, a side that doesn't "want to smile for your Nikon." For years she's been creating digital art on her computer and using the internet as a platform to exhibit. Her most recent pieces rework photographs which tumbl across her dashboard to create compelling digital art. Using precisely drawn lines and .gif animation Fola overlays Grace Jones' eyes with flashing flowers or obscures the face of an anonymous man cradling a child with a bouquet of spring flowers. Not wanting contemporary artists' work to unduly influence her, she studiously avoids their work, yet her reappropriation of ethnographic photographs seems particularly zeitgeist and situates her within the conversations surrounding colonial imagery and the new paths of circulation it finds in our internet age. Fola came to the Okayafrica offices to talk about her digital art, tumblr and Destiny's Child. Click through for the conversation accompanied by a gallery of her work.

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Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

How Davido's 'FEM' Became the Unlikely #EndSARS Protest Anthem

When Nigerian youth shout the line "Why everybody come dey para, para, para, para for me" at protests, it is an act of collective rebellion and rage, giving flight to our anger against the police officers that profile young people, the bureaucracy that enables them, and a government that appears lethargic.

Some songs demand widespread attention from the first moments they unfurl themselves on the world. Such music are the type to jerk at people's reserves, wearing down defenses with an omnipresent footprint at all the places where music can be shared and enjoyed, in private or in communion; doubly so in the middle of an uncommonly hot year and the forced distancing of an aggressive pandemic that has altered the dynamics of living itself. Davido's "FEM" has never pretended to not be this sort of song. From the first day of its release, it has reveled in its existence as the type of music to escape to when the overbearing isolation of lockdown presses too heavily. An exorcism of ennui, a sing-along, or a party starter, "FEM" was made to fit whatever you wanted it to be.

However, in the weeks since its release, the song has come to serve another purpose altogether. As young Nigerians have poured out into the streets across the country to protest against the brutality of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, "FEM" has kept playing with the vigour of a generational protest anthem. From Lagos to Abia to Benin and Abuja, video clips have flooded the Internet of people singing word-for-word to Davido's summer jam as they engage in peaceful protests. In one video, recorded at Alausa, outside the Lagos State Government House, youths break into an impromptu rendition of the song when the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, tried addressing them; chants of "O boy you don dey talk too much" rent through the air, serving as proof of their dissatisfaction with his response to their demands—and the extortionist status quo.

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