Born in 1996, Ayanfe Olarinde is a self-trained visual artist currently employing scribbling techniques as well as photography in creating intricately detailed and multi-layered images. In 2018, she graduated from the university of Lagos with a BSc in Microbiology.
In her work, Olarinde explores and drives conversation around self image, identity formation, social reality, collective history and mental health while probing popular culture and the inefficiencies of the government in contemporary society. Drawing from imperfections in her personal, continuous journey for acceptance, Olarinde’s engagement with the scribbling technique serves as a way to interrogate emotion while also exploring fluidity in form. Working across various media including ink, acrylics, wire and found objects she creates richly textured drawings, paintings, collages and sculptures engaging with personal history and experiences in her artistic journey. As an evocative artist influenced by her passage through life, her oeuvre has evolved to include works in photography and digital art. She is particularly interested in exploring conceptual photography as a tool for understanding the psychology of her subjects.
In 2018, Olarinde was shortlisted for the GTBank Days of Dorcas photography contest. In 2019, she was nominated for the Future Awards prize for arts, and went on to win the First Bank Magic 125 Creative Contest in the same year. In 2019, she also exhibited alongside other photographers at the 25th Bamako Encounters, Mali – OFF exhibition, and the Live-In Desires exhibition organised by the Goethe Institute Nigeria and The Nlele Institute. Olarinde has participated in several group exhibitions including Dis Lagos Life (2020) at SMO Contemporary Arts, un-TOLD (2020) at Retro Africa, Sculpting the City (2020) at Rele Gallery and Through Her Eyes (2019) Moeshen Art Gallery. She also participated in the 2020 edition of the iDesign Art Fair as well as presenting her work at the first edition of the African Artists Foundation’s Collectors Club.
Her internationally recognised series “Dem Bobo”, has been featured in several local and international publications including Reuters News, CNN, NowThisNews, Vogue, Channels, Konbini, MSN, Premium Times,, NTA, and RADR Africa. In 2020, Olarinde was listed amongst the 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria.
Olarinde is currently a mentee at the Nlele institute, and also the director and curator of Unearthical, an enterprise under which she explores the fashion and fine art genres of photography. She lives and works in Lagos.