Interview with Sola Olulode

August 2020

Today we’re inviting you to join us on catching up with Sola Olulode, LAH’s Graduate Resident for 2018-2019.

Lewisham Arthouse: Hello Sola! First of all thank you for your time, we’re excited to have the opportunity of interviewing you. Could
we start by learning a bit about you and your work?

Sola Olulode: I’m an artist from south London mainly working in figurative painting. My paintings focus on the lives of black womxn
and non-binary people. I paint tender visions of relationships and intimacy. In my paintings people express love unhindered by the outside world in a bubble of freedom and happiness.

LAH: What are your materials of choice and could you please tell us a bit about your process?

SO: I mostly work using batik techniques on hand dyed or stained canvas, using paint or other mixed media once stretched on a frame.

LAH: Is there a piece you are particularly proud of, something you felt has been really important to you, or has changed the way
you work? If so could you tell us why?

SO: She’s Like My Sister – A painting I did in my second year of uni. It
focuses on sisterhood and the close friendships between Black womxn. It perfectly captured the energy I was going for my work and the colours in that piece have stayed with my work since.

LAH: What interests you? What influences you?

SO: People in my life influence me the most but also music and film is where I get a lot of inspiration. I’m always playing music
when I’m painting. It can capture the feeling that I’m trying to convey in painting with words and beats. Listening to the vibrations can often set the mood of the painting or the lyrics inspire the title. I also look at films and music videos especially for
examples of relationships or poses for figures.

LAH: Are you working on anything particular at the moment?
Is there a theme you are currently addressing?

SO: The theme I’m currently addressing is romance. I’m looking at couples and physical intimacies between lovers.

LAH: You were the Lewisham Arthouse’s Graduate Resident Award holder in 2018-2019. What did you think of that experience?

SO: Having the space allowed me to create many new pieces of works and continue to experiment following my degree at a time when
I couldn’t afford a studio so had no opportunity to continue making work and pursue a career out of making art. It was great to have a studio space free for a year and remove some of that stress and be free to focus on creating!

LAH: In October 2019 you had your Residency’s final exhibition, Hold
My Hand, at the Arthouse Gallery. What were you mainly focused on during its preparation?

SO: Finishing the works! I wanted to show all new works and really fill up the gallery space so I had to dedicate a lot of time in
the run up to get everything finished!

LAH: Could you please tell us about the series of Creative Crits you conducted during your time at LAH and what motivated your initiative?

SO: I held two crites for creatives of colour during my time at the Arthouse. I think having a critical discussion about your work
with other creatives and receiving feedback is really essential to pushing your work forward. Having a safe space dedicated to people of colour helps alleviate some of the pressures I and other Black and POCs have felt receiving feedback from white dominated
spaces where often work is overlooked or misunderstood.

LAH: Do you have more similar plans in the future? If so how can those interested get involved?

SO: I have plans to hold more of these events at the Arthouse.
Look out for posts on instagram about it!

LAH: We understand you’ve been very busy! Can you please tell us about your most recent and current exhibitions, what are you working
on at the moment and how can we follow your practice?

SO: Recently I’ve been included in quite a few online exhibitions as the art world adapted to lockdown. Now I’m back in the studio,
I’m finishing off a lot of new works so I can focus on the current series I’m working on (romance). The best place to find out what I’m up to is my instagram page.

LAH: Great, Sola! Thank you very much and we look forward to seeing you again at the Arthouse!

Olulode received a BA in Fine Art Painting from the University of Brighton in 2018. Since graduating she has succeeded residencies with solo shows: von Goetz, Moving in the Bluish Light (2018); Lewisham Art House, Hold My Hand (2019); V.O Curations, Where the Ocean Meets the Beach (2020); and featured in the V&A’s In the Palm of Your Hands (2020). Various group exhibitions include: BBZ BLK BK: Alternative Graduate Show (2018); Twilights of the Idols (2020), Alice Black; Build Love Break Walls (2020), Shado Magazine; Blacklisted: An Indefinite Revolution (2020), Christie’s Education; and most recently When Shit Hits the Fan (2020), Guts Gallery (online).
You can follow Sola Olulode’s work on Instagram and