Tobi Alexandra Falade:We Will Come Find You
Signed and dated on reverse
Oil on linen
47 1/4 x 39 1/2 inches
Tobi Alexandra Falade considers herself ‘obsessed’ with the idea of Homecoming and The Return. Born in Nigeria, Falade moved to the UK at seven years old, following an intricate journey from Warri, her hometown, to London. Having never revisited Nigeria, Falade feels a longing toward her past self, remembering a young child sitting on the plane eating jollof rice, awaiting a new and unknown country. Lifting imagery from her first passport, We Will Come Find You (2020) references a crucial piece of Falade’s identity. This passport, a small leathery booklet of nationhood, holds the idea of ‘younger Tobi’ that present day Falade thinks of constantly. It stands as a memento of the journey Falade has taken through continents and across seas.
The painting depicts three figures: two mirrored profiles oriented upright and upside down, and one younger face captured head on. We can understand each face as representing Falade, with the youngest a direct copy from her old Nigerian passport. The older faces look out into an abyss of abstracted cream and blue ripples, searching for and remembering a past shared and experienced across two countries. The young portrait of Tobi is anchored to the top right of the composition. Unsmiling, her large, youthful eyes gaze beyond the picture plane, frustratingly never making contact with the other two figures within the image. At once looking back and thinking forward, We Will Come Find You gracefully ties Falade’s diasporic childhood to her longing for home.
Tobi Alexandra Falade is a Nigerian British visual artist creating figurative oil paintings engaging with narratives of modern Black British life and dialogues of African and post-colonial contexts. The compositions for her large oil paintings are created by collaging and manipulating photography of Nigeria from family albums, and her own present-day photography to draw these two different worlds together and construct new narratives.
Falade was born in Warri, Nigeria in 1995. She graduated in 2019 from Wimbledon College of Art with a BA in Fine Art Painting. Falade has recently been awarded The SPACE Artists Award (2021), The Very Special Fund, a grant by Hennessy in partnership with gal-dem (2021), and the Black Girl Fest Creative Fund (2021). She is also the recipient of the Hottinger Prize for Excellence FBA Futures (2020), and The Royal Female School of Art Foundation (RFSA) Final Year Award (2019). Falade is based in Liverpool and London.