Olajide "Mayor" Oluwamayowa
Olajide Oluwamayowa “Mayor” (b. 2002) is a self-trained Nigerian painter, whose surreal yet political pop works reflect on the role of sportsmen and women in forcing social change. As an avid sportsman himself, Mayor approached painting with the same tenacity and dedication as boxing and lifting weights, helping him to quickly learn and develop his own unique way of working with acrylic, charcoal and oil on canvas. He likens both art and sport to each other, noting that his patience and consistency has been the key to perfecting both crafts. Mayor’s thoughtful, poignant and political canvases dissect and distort both household icons as well as lesser known sports stars. With particular interest in the intersection between race and sport, Mayor reflects on how many black athletes have been at the forefront of social change and demanding equality; from Jesse Owens in 1936, to Tommie Smith and John Carlos in 1968, as well as Colin Kaepernick who is still fighting for equality to this day. Inspired by artists such as Peter Saul and Ed Paschke, Mayor embraces a darker tone of pop art to distort these athletes images in the same way the media often try to, in order to deflect from the real issues. Where Paschke looked to subvert tropes from the media, Mayor enhances these tropes to reflect on how athletes are treated in both the media and on social media - their own narratives distorted, and their own image dissected. With these works Mayor hopes to elevate these sportspeople to iconic status, and raise awareness for some of the stories less told and reflect on the mountains that black sportspeople have had to climb to achieve what they have today.

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