Ekundayo a Hawaiian based artist who at the age of eleven found his love of art. After the unfortunate passing of his father, Ekundayo was staying with family when he found his uncles “ Black Books “ of Graffiti street art that sparked an ever-growing journey into the beautiful and expressive world of art. He explains in this quote how this discovery of street art fueled his imagination as well as saving him in the process.
“So when I found that book it was the thing that saved me. I had never seen art like that. I had never seen characters like that. I was obsessed with having ideas in my mind and putting it down on paper.”
Ekundayo creates paintings of dream-like beings with deeply saturated colors and purposeful expression. These creatures, whether human or hybrid aren’t the only focus of these paintings. There is one common theme: a house.
By placing houses in unusual places throughout his paintings Ekundayo presents the notion that the stability of home can be cultivated inside oneself rather than relying on outer-worldly roots such as a physical home. He explains in this quote.
“The houses and the reason why I placed them on the heads and in weird places where houses really wouldn’t be is because I want to show that it’s not a literal house. It’s more like a metaphorical house, meaning that the idea of shelter and the idea of safety is something that you can foster within you rather than something that comes from outside of you. All these characters when they have these houses on their heads it’s kind of like their little crown, it’s like their own inner safety. It’s about having a little piece of home with you no matter where you go. It’s always inside.”
Ekundayo means ‘sorrow becomes joy’. What Ekundayo teaches us through his paintings is how we all have light and darkness but its how we channel and harness that darkness and how we express our light that defines our experience. That’s how we create joy from sorrow.
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