Artist Tunde Olaniran. Steven Piper/Courtesy of the artist
Acclaimed both locally and nationally, Tunde Olaniran is a multifaceted visual artist, musician, singer, and performer from Flint, Michigan. Tunde Olaniran: Made a Universe is the culmination of his creative desire to incorporate music composition, performance, dance, handmade costumes, and art installation into an ambitious new body of work.
Tunde Olaniran: Made a Universe has the narrative arc of a hero’s journey. The exhibition features a series of videos that takes its inspiration from the kind of archetypes found in comic books, such as the New Mutants storyline in the X-Men series. Within this premise, the character’s often perceived weakness translates into their unique superpower. Olaniran applies this transformation to the personal narrative of his own intersecting social identities, which he self-describes as “a child of an immigrant, gender non-conforming, fat, poor, and Black.” In this imagined parallel dimension, the artist triumphs over a series of trials and evolves into a superhuman force. The film series Made a Universe examines what it means to unlock your power in the face of fear and repression, and how one must unify various fragments of their psyche to connect with the world and themselves on a deeper level. The series, shot on location throughout Detroit, is directed and scored by Olaniran and features collaborations across artistic mediums with several multidisciplinary, award-winning artists. This multimedia production explores themes of agency, liminality, human connection, and psychic and emotional power.
Tunde Olaniran: Made A Universe is organized by Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by Laura Mott, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art and Design. The film series is produced by Paige Wood. The project is generously supported by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The National Endowment of the Arts, Jennifer and Dan Gilbert, Don Manvel, and additional support by Library Street Collective.
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