Abi’s work uses Dutch wax fabric, traditional African and Oceanic art, British textiles, and her imagination. She wants to represent the influence of these cultures on her identity and to challenge people’s assumptions about what is African textile. Her paintings absorb the viewer with her striking patterns, enticing you into her kaleidoscopic world. It brings us great pride and pleasure to have worked with her on transforming elements of her paintings into wallpaper repeats.
To hatch is to be born, to make a plan, to bring into being. This wallpaper was hatched from Abi’s personal and historical connection to Nigeria and to adire fabrics. Adire is the Yoruba word for ‘tie and dye’ textiles. Traditionally, they are made and worn throughout the Yoruba region of Nigeria. The indigo-dyed cotton is decorated using a resist-dyeing technique to create striking, repeating patterns in blue and white. At the bottom of each adire design you can usually find the artist’s signature, as each textile is a unique artwork. The random, hand-drawn patterns of Hatch pay homage to this tradition whilst allowing you to personally interpret the different shapes. Through the liveliness of its mark-making, this wallpaper paints the life story of the mark-maker and her home.
This wallpaper epitomises modern-day Arts and Crafts, combining a fragment of an African textile with a detail from a William Morris wall hanging. It represents the two cultures that have impacted Abi’s identity as a British artist of West African heritage. The chequerboard structure encourages the interplay of the two distinct cultures; they integrate with and inform one another whilst transporting us to Abi’s wonderful world of patterns. Just as fabric cloaks a person, this textile-inspired wallpaper envelops a room.
Abi Ola (b. 1996, based in London) gained her BFA from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2019, and an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2021. Recent solo and group exhibitions include ‘All Are Gone The Old Familiar Faces’, a solo show with Flatland Projects, Battle, 2022; ‘Love At A Distance’, a solo show as part of the Bloomsbury Festival Art Prize, 2020-21; a duo show with Ilke Cop at the VCRB Gallery, Belgium, 2022; and the Slade School of Fine Art’s 150th Anniversary exhibition, 2021-22. In 2021 Abi was awarded a place on the University of London, Faculty of Arts & Humanities Dean’s List, and, in the same year, the Almacantar bursary award. Abi has designed the Yarns collection for CommonRoom. You can find more examples of Abi’s work here and @abiolaartist.