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Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.

I’m Sola Olulode, I’m a painter from South London. I make figurative media works using resistance dyeing techniques like batik and tie dye. The works tend to be quite romantic and joyful. I paint scenes of lovers and Black people being expressive.

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Sola is wearing EXPANDRA skirt and PEACH tank.


Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?

A female artist that is currently inspiring me a lot is Betye Saar. I’m reading a book of her work at the moment, and I’m really interested in the way she uses spirituality and the mystic quality of her works. Another artist I’ve been influenced by lately is Zeinab Saleh, I really love the tenderness of her paintings and the way they evoke memories. I also really love the work of Chloe Filani, her performances create a meditative environment that I'm really attracted to. When she speaks, she commands the room and the way she uses breath work creates a sense of peace that falls onto the space.


Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?

I make work from a very personal space, mostly the narratives of my work centre around the experiences Black Women and Non-binary people and so painting from my own perspective. Historically these stories have often been missing in the mainstream art world, so I see my work as correcting that.


What has been the most challenging aspect of being a woman in the arts?

I am privileged enough to have come into my career in art at a time when being a woman is a lot less changeling than a century ago. There are many exhibitions that I have been a part of that have sceptically been curated to highlight women artists. Institutions have been trying to tackle the gender imbalance in their exhibitions and collections. I would still like to see more racial diversity amongst the women in lead positions in galleries and institutions. Something I notice now is the need for more opportunities for older artists (above 25), more accessibility in galleries and more provision for artists who are parents so there is still a long way to go. That being said, my experience in the art world has mainly been led by a strong community of women and non-binary creatives that are supporting, collaborating, and creating opportunities for each other constantly. Most of the people I have worked with so far have been women, which has made my journey a comfortable experience.


What would you like people to notice in your artwork?

I always say I would like people to notice themselves in the works. I want people to feel seen and comforted by that.


Sola is wearing PEACH tank.