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Yétúndé Ulagbajú: "Horizon/You Hold My Shape"

Author : Safoora Seyedi

Reading Time : 2 Minutes

Yétúndé Ulagbajú is a young artist, strategist, and teacher from Oakland who is interested in black history. She is African-American and narrates black history through films, photographs, sculptures, and installations. Yétúndé studied art at Mills College and won the Svane Foundation Award. However, what she sees, creates, and produces is not limited to art; Yétúndé goes to the labor unions and admits that she is focused on the liberation of coloreds. Her recent show at SOMArts is a mature experience. The show "Horizon/You Hold My shape" is a casual rewriting of videos, installations, and sculptures that show the intimacy of the black man and his daily practices. Yétúndé's narrative is intergenerational and not dependent on geography; this is exactly the kind of intimacy that needs to be portrayed. A special intimacy of a race that has been inferior for years and now gets back its history with narration and without the need of othering.

Source: www.mutualart.com

Although this event refers to collective history, it is personal. Throughout the show, there are handwritten notes from Yétúndé's parents, somehow connecting the pieces of the puzzle that are scattered throughout the show. Yétúndé's father is from Ilé-Ifẹ̀, a city in Nigeria; a city that many historians have acknowledged as the origin of human life and one of the ancient human bases. The people of the city believe that a golden chain fell from the sky to the earth and this caused the creation of man. Yétúndé's works are the links of this chain, a chain that is broken and covers the whole earth. This is why the artist emphasizes intimacy; an intimacy that connects the links of the chain. In the description of the show, SOMArts wrote that this event is a reminder; to remind that although fate has repeatedly tried to break the black bond, blacks have always found themselves in each other. It seems that this is the reason for the artist's insistence on the international nature of the show. Another black face in another corner of the world that we have no idea of, attached to the piece by Yétúndé and a note by his parents, reminds us that the intimacy and bond of blackness are unbreakable.

The show is available to visit from July 31 to August 21, 2022, at SOMArts.