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Toyin Ojih Odutola

A Countervailing Theory


The first-ever UK exhibition by Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, this epic cycle of new work will explore an imagined ancient myth, with an immersive soundscape by artist Peter Adjaye.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, recognising the pen as a ‘writing tool first’, plays with the idea that drawing can be a form of storytelling. Working exclusively with drawing materials including pastel and charcoal, she approaches her process of drawing as an investigative practice.

Ojih Odutola proposes speculative fictions, inviting the viewer to enter her vision of an uncannily familiar yet fantastical world. Working like an author or poet, she often spends months creating extensive imaginary narratives, which play out through a series of works to suggest a structure of episodes or chapters. Drawing on an eclectic range of references, from ancient history to popular culture to contemporary politics, she encourages the viewer to piece together the fragments of the stories that she presents.

The exhibition has been commissioned by the Barbican, London. Supported by Arts Council England and Jack Shainman Gallery.

The exhibition is produced in collaboration with Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark, and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, USA

Download the exhibition handout

Download the Creative Prompts. 


Toyin Ojih Odutola, Semblance of Certainty from A Countervailing Theory

Creative prompts

Creative Prompts inspired by Toyin Ojih Odutola’s A Countervailing Theory. Have a go at creating your own artworks and writing inspired by the themes and ideas from the exhibition.

Photo of Toyin's exhibition

Watch: A narrated walk through of 'A Countervailing Theory'

Toyin Ojih Odutola takes us through her exhibition A Countervailing Theory, highlighting key moments in the story unfolding before our eyes on the artworks.

Photo of two men sitting down talking to each other

Watch: Composing 'Ceremonies Within' for Toyin Ojih Odutola

Composer Peter Adjaye speaks to Ekow Eshun about the inspiration and process behind creating his atmospheric soundscape, Ceremonies Within, for Toyin Ojih Odutola's A Countervailing Theory in The Curve gallery

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