Art from Paper

MEET AYOBOLA KEKERE-EKUN, THE NIGERIAN ARTIST WHO USES STRIPS OF PAPER AND GLUE TO CREATE INCREDIBLE WORKS OF ART.

24-year-old Ayobola Kekere-Ekun is a Lagos-based contemporary visual artist who studied graphic design at the University of Lagos and graduated with a B.A. in visual arts. Her work explores issues related to mythology, gender, constructs of power and the human condition. Her art form involves the use of strips of coloured paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create stunning designs. So, if you were ever one of those kids that just tore up papers with scissors for the fun it, shame on you and me of course. 

Follow her on Instagram: @ayobola.k and visit her website here.

I discovered quilling by accident in my final year of university. I was brainstorming for my last practical project, and during one of my experimentation sessions I realized I could glue a strip of paper on edge and it would hold. It was such a liberating moment for me. I imagined that someone out there had to have figured this out as well, so I went online to look it up. I learned it was called paper quilling and I discovered some incredibly inspiring quillers and paper artists.

I’ve definitely come a long way since my first piece. I’ve had to figure a lot of things out through trial and error. I’m still learning and experimenting even now.

This story has made me realize that there is so much ingenuity in arts and culture and that a whole lot can be created from something unbelievable.

The most important part of every piece I do is the planning stage. I do lots of sketches to explore whatever idea I have.

I don’t touch a strip of paper until the piece is at least 70% clear in my head. The unclear 30% tends to sort itself out as the piece progresses.