Paul Ogunlesi


"By expressively mixing acrylic, charcoal and newspaper collages, on textured canvases, I depart from traditional realistic portraiture to engage my audience with unique and bewildering compositions."


Paul Ogunlesi

Paul Oyetunde Ogunlesi (b. 1994, Lagos State) is a Lagos-based painter that hails from Ogun state, and a graduate of Yaba College of Technology in Fine Art. In creating his works, he blends newspaper collages, which he uses as metaphor to outlay hidden narratives behind the situation of his subject per time, with acrylics, using the wash and temperal finish technique to arrive at his subtledly expressive, textured canvases.

Ogunlesi takes a different approach to portraiture in engaging his audience, with the use of truncated, disconcerting compositions. Inspired by life, Yoruba adages, faith, the

mundane, the trivial and past experiences, exploring themes such as humanity, romance, kindness and hope with tender tones and natural poses, his works echo the singularities of our individual experiences by offering the viewer multi-layered frames to dive into.

In his “of Life and Animosities” series, Ogunlesi deploys an invasive process to engage

his audience, providing a multiplicity of narratives for his audience to explore, his metaphorical, ambiguous canvases oscillate between a sense of peace and abandonment, love and hope. Forced into becoming voyeur, the viewer soon becomes

the off-screen protagonist of a scene that is left for them to interpret.

Ogunlesi carefully frame his compositions to avoid representing faces, he focuses instead on his characters’ feet and legs, creating rich evocative “mediums of shared identities”.

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