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Toyin Ojih Odutola

A Countervailing Theory

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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.

Download the exhibition handout

Barbican and Guildhall Creative Learning have worked with three creative partners to produce a series of prompts inspired by the exhibition. These prompts are designed for anybody to try - you don't even need to have been to visit the exhibition. Download the Creative Prompts. 

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

Discover

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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