'Ajánakú', 2017, installation, dimensions variable
Born Igarra (NG), 1982
The banana plant, requiring no other flower to become pollinated, is a self-fertilizing plant. A banana fruit which grows on the female plant therefore could be considered the ultimate symbol of female independence, instead of the stereotypical association to masculinity. The large-scale black-and-white portraits of Tyna Adebowale are filled with bananas, both an assertion and inversion of the over-sexualized symbolic language in relation to gender politics. Adebowale’s paintings, installations and videos are concerned with the social and political role of the female in Nigerian and African communities, as well as visibility of Queer individuals. Focusing on the social implications of single motherhood, the silenced women appearing in Adebowale’s work are portrayed with a sense of empowerment. Within Nigeria’s extremist’s surge, securing women rights is an urgent matter, as is securing the rights of Queer culture in the country and region. Collaborating with this community, Adebowale has recently produced a number of video performances, a courageous commitment to safeguard a political space for groups who find themselves on the margins of an unsafe and extremely homophobic society.