This autumn the Royal Scottish Academy will present "Ade Adesina: Aurora" in The Academicians’ Gallery. Focusing on the effects of climate change, deforestation and energy consumption, Adesina’s ecologically-minded, monumental linocuts, woodcuts and etchings approach the limits to which the medium of printmaking can be pushed. He combines objects, places and scenes from his African heritage, British culture and those encountered whilst travelling into visually-immersive landscapes which come together with the impact of history painting. The exhibition includes many new and previously unseen works by the celebrated print maker.
Adesina combines traditional printmaking techniques with an innovative approach to subject matter. Drawing on a vast reserve of memories and imagined scenarios, Adesina has created a visual language laden with symbolism and incisive comment. Exhibition highlights include the expansive linocut The View after the Questions, in which an enormous baobab tree with a clock face on the trunk forms the centre of an extraordinary world in which Victorian lighthouses stand alongside skyscrapers. In the foreground a Yemeni village is connected to the rest of the sprawling scene by bridges and a viaduct. In the swirling skies above, sharks and whales take flight, swept up in the turbulence. The natural and man-made combine in this awe-invoking scene, posing questions about the human footprint on the planet and the disjunction between human and natural history.
Speaking about his work, Adesina has said: ‘I work in a very strange way. Every print, sculpture or painting owns a story; it is like reading a novel. There are different characters coming in at different chapters. I don’t find it interesting knowing where a piece of work is going to end before I begin. I can start on the earth and end on the moon. What I enjoy most includes not knowing what direction a piece of work is going.’
Born in Nigeria in 1980, Adesina studied Fine Art at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen (2008-12), and continues to live and work in the city. Whilst his subject matter spans continents and encompasses metropolises and jungles, often the backdrop of Aberdeen and the North Sea oil and fishing industries are visible. Adesina’s work has been exhibited worldwide and he is the recipient of a host of awards recognising his achievements in printmaking. Becoming the first RSA New Contemporary to be elected a Royal Scottish Academician in 2017, and benefiting from several RSA awards and residencies including the John Kinross Scholarship, Ade Adesina’s extraordinary success has been encouraged and recognised by the academy throughout his career so far.