Peju Alatise (b.. 1975)
Peju has become one of the most powerful and widely recognized contemporary artists living and working in Lagos. Through the last decade, her ever-evolving practice has consistently held audiences in awe. The exquisite nature of her technique produces and encounter between what is sense and what is known— as a material means to examine Nigeria’s shifting order of visibility within the global landscape.
Among her extensive resume highlights her recent experiences as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institute in D.C, as an art teacher in Venice, and as artist resident in Morocco and Turkey.
She was one of three exhibiting artists in the Nigerian pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale of which her exhibit, ‘ Flying Girls’ was described as “technically beautiful and haunting at the same time.”. Peju is also the winner of the prestigious 2017 FNB Art Prize.
From her initial training as an architect to her experiments with an incredibly broad spectrum of media—from words to clay and cloth—she has positioned herself as a demiurge. That is to say she has the ability to unearth multiple layers of meaning (and often violent historical memories) from beneath the surface of everyday objects, language, and social relations. Crafting alternative social imageries and challenging master narratives in politics and media, her trajectory sharply illustrates how artists in Africa are filling in the gaps left by official histories.