Born Lagos, Nigeria (1976), lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria
Courtesy of the artist
Onipon explores spaces of the mind and multiplicity faced in the transitions and challenges of socio-political influences as they affect the navigations of the regular individual in the quest for survival. It touches on human experience of seeking safety and refuge, both physically and psychologically, particularly now with the mass migration of the middle class and intellectual base. It encompasses a range of issues related to displacement and asylum in a wide context that attend to issues of the liminal, trauma, and uncertainty. The performance action draws on the viscosity of tension in the emotional and psychological impact of sanctuaries for individuals and communities. Sanctuary from situations invites ideology that necessitates empathy and forms of altruism which are rare commodities that challenge perspectives of hope. Spaces of refuge become poetic impasses that pull heavily on the elasticity of the mind in that leap from trauma to safety in whatever type of scenario. Mechanisms of hybridization flood thought systems within survival mode of apprehending concepts of refuge. These venture into a range of strategies that outwardly permeate a myriad of issues such as social structures, livelihood, belief systems, and cultural practices, among several others. The performance involves a moving mutation of a myriad of selves as multiples of a unit propelled in responsive intuition in migration from points. These involve ‘sondering’ social desires that might sit at the intersection of respite and protection. The performance involves volunteering of a hundred costumed participants as mutations of the self in multiplicity transitioning along the environs of the Tafawa Balewa Square Lagos from one navigational point to another. The number signifies positive completeness and wholeness of the multiple self. It leans into centrality and expansion of the unit and the representation of the many as one. Onipon references the elasticity of the human mind, like a rubber band, when subjected to pressures of refuging. It explores how the human psyche adapts, and copes with the ideals of sanctuary. The human mind has the capacity to adapt its cognitive and emotional responses to external stressors which allows the navigation of uncertainty of refuge with a degree of flexibility, transforming pressure into multiplicity of the self. Cognitive resilience plays a pivotal role in the elasticity of the mind. The mind, much like a resilient material, can return to its original state after being stretched, demonstrating its remarkable capacity to endure and recover.
Odun Orimolade’s work is included in Gregarious architectures.