Interview: Orry Shenjobi
Luca Curci talks with Orry Shenjobi during the 15th Edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at Palazzo Bembo.
Orry Shenjobi is a Multidisciplinary artist and the Creative Director of studio ORRY. Her unrefined pieces of art are inspirational, crisp visuals, and realistically created using mixed materials to encapsulate the depths of individualistic identity. With a degree in Product Design from the University of Leeds and an MA in Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures from UAL, her specialities include 3D painting and graphic design. Having been born in London and raised in Lagos, both cities influence her creative rendition of art and concepts. Shenjobi’s diverse media use, ranging from paintings to digital art and recycled materials, is primarily focused on highlighting social issues, both local and global, by bringing together distinct, personal narratives. From everyday life to activities of friends and strangers, she captures these moments in order to create a chorus of diverse individuals to be seen and heard. Her process of working directly on photographs makes her paintings feel as close to the realms of reality as possible, creating unique characters whilst still allowing viewers to be immersed in the captured scenes. She conveys a sense of vibrancy and photorealism through her distinct layering and texturing of surfaces, which aid in emphasizing human complexity and vulnerability. As an advocate of female representation in and exposure to art, Shenjobi is a co-founder of ‘Women in Art‘, a digital platform focused on featuring the works of women passionate about their art. Ultimately, Shenjobi plans to expand her practice by combining techniques and themes with ideas and inspirations from other industries.
Luca Curci – How did you get into your current artistic practice?
Orry Shenjobi – I was chosen by Art. This was not in the plan for my life, yet here I am. Along the way, there has been a lot of self-discovery and a newfound love for it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed art, but when it became clear that it was a gift, I was only 16 years old. It all started during my A-levels, but I put it off since, as I previously stated, it was not in the plan. Then came 2019, a pivotal moment when I realised this is what I’m supposed to be doing and my purpose became obvious.
LC – Can you explain something about “Work to chop”, “Wá, make I tell you something”, “Na him mama send am”, the artworks you have in our exhibition?
OS – The three pieces that are exhibited at the Venice International Art Fair are part of a larger collection and ongoing series ‘humans of Lagos’. Each piece was photographed in various areas of Lagos, Nigeria. Post pandemic. They depict the everyday normalcy of Lagosians, with the goal of giving viewers a different viewpoint on what life is like in the world’s greatest city.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
OS – Our work as artists assists in highlighting societal margins and effect social change. I believe through our work we aim to heal and inspire, whilst subconsciously promoting the possibility of various worldly alternatives.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
OS – My preferred subject is people and life in their communities. Documentation of life experiences related to these themes, humans and the environment.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
OS – I feel fulfilled and grateful because I am able to see my visions come to fruition.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
OS – My work is linked with the theme of the exhibition as it explores the relationship between Lagosians and their immediate environment and how it fuels their daily ambitions. I recorded these moments not just to examine these many ambitions, dreams, and anxieties, but also to emphasise a feeling of oneness in the distinctiveness of these experiences.
LC – What are you currently working on?
OS – Catch me at the next exhibition and find out 🙂
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
OS – I do, I believe the organisation helps artists gain exposure to a new audience they may not have reached on their own.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
OS – Yes indeed, extremely professional, accommodating and kind. Thank you.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
OS – Extremely efficient.