An invented escape: Adeolu Osibodu’s surrealist photography

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For Osibodu, surrealism isn’t just a kind of play. It’s about the idea, the process, and the perseverance for making the impossible seem feasible

Adeolu Osibodu was born and elevated in Africa’s largest city, Lagos. Growing up, he watched the city beam with lights and people. Lagos is known because of its booming creative sphere, but it suffers from overpopulation and low income, and what Osibodu disliked many was how compacted it was. When he was ten, his family relocated to some Christian camp in Ondo State, around a four hr drive outside of Lagos. The camp was nothing like Lagos. There were huge open areas, and clusters of trees and shrubs – a soothing surrounding that didn’t just turn out to be his home, but a significant inspiration to his work as a photographer. Looking back again, this backdrop was the root of the surrealistic concepts of his image-making today.

At this point, at the age of 25, Osibodu is usually exhibiting his work at ArtCo gallery in Berlin. Within the past six years, Osibodu has become known for his distinctive style of photography, imbued along with surrealist elements. “I wanted to create a new world with digital photography, ” he says. “I simply had the urge to express me personally and channel my ideas into the craft… I just wanted to have a sense of impact along with minimalistic concepts. ” In post-production, Osibodu renders surrealist portraits that are dreamy, monochromatic and cinematic.

Titled Seems like Home Again, the exhibit introduces images from Osibodu’s recent series, Losing Amos and Saggios . “The series in this exhibition ties different moments of my life together, it is a sort of biopic that visualises my phase as a photographer and my journey right from the start which is Losing Amos to who I am now, ” he says.

Almost all of Osibodu’s pictures are inspired by his personal life, which he records in a journal. Most of the scenes he depicts are uprooted from these daily situations, and the models are their close friends.   “Spending additional time on the idea gives me the intuition of the shape I would like the work to take, ” he says. “As a photographer, I think I spend more time with my suggestions rather than my camera due to the fact I have thought about it, dreamed about and discussed this. ” Surrealism to Osibodu isn’t just a form of play. It’s about the concept, the procedure, and the perseverance in making the impossible seem possible.  

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Ugonna-Ora Owoh is a journalist living in Nigeria who writes on multi-sectoral topics. He has composed for publications like Style US, Vice, The 3rd party, OpenDemocracy, Artsy, OkayAfrica, Style Business and others. You can adhere to and find his works @ugonnaoraowoh on both Twitter and Instagram

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