Elizabeth Olukoya is a third-year fine art student. Working in a multitude of mediums, including papier mache, sculpture and tradition paint, she explained her theme to be “issues around the world”.
Although Olukoya states she won’t call herself a feminist, she acknowledges that feminism is a theme of her work. “As much as I try to run away from that (feminism) or hide away from it, it shows strongly in my work.”
Despite not calling herself a feminist, Elizabeth’s work deals greatly with the female experience. Her latest piece is made of clay, depicting the struggle of a childless woman in a polygamous marriage. “It’s not really as common as it was, centuries ago, or years ago. But we can still see the fruit of that seed, still evident in some people’s lives.”
Through this piece, Elizabeth explores a woman’s place in the world and how it feels to not be able to conceive a child. “For a woman, there is this pain that you have, when you feel you are not enough. There is this pain you have when you feel you are not filling a gap, as much as you ought to. That sense of emptiness, shows in women more than men, because we are life givers.”
Below is an explanation of this piece by Elizabeth herself.
However, the protagonist of this piece fights against her desperation and her situation to strive and prosper, giving birth to a child at the end of the piece. “It shows the leadership trait and the spirit of a good manager, in women.”
Along with the feminine narrative, Elizabeth explores people in relation to one another and to the planet. “We rub around each other, we live indelible marks, as we do that. You come across people in your life and they leave something there, you live your life with that, it goes on with you.”
She created a piece to go along with Sky’s programme Ocean Rescue commenting on the ongoing issue of plastic bottles polluting the sea. “I have been keeping my bottle tops and what have they – the recycling centres – what have they been doing with the real bottles?”
This modern art style is different from other mediums that Elizabeth uses. “I’m a mixed media artist. I use anything that speaks well with my issue.”
But Elizabeth doesn’t just use anything to make her art “I don’t just go on to use any material.” She particularly spoke of her love for papier mache. “I have discovered that it is therapeutic.”
Below is an explanation of why Elizabeth uses papier mache.
With both collaborative and solo exhibitions this spring, Elizabeth is making noise in the art world. With her multitude of talents, it is easy to feel in awe of Elizabeth Olukoya. However, when speaking of her herself, she is “simply Elizabeth, the mixed media artist.”