Meet the artist who treats cultural inspiration as a living process. Mazzi Odu spoke with artist Jariet Oloyé about her unique approach to handmaking.
“Starting from the age of four or five I loved watching the community artisans and participating in their crafts of woven craft and basketry, I was encouraged to play with materials and enjoyed how these materials could be manipulated into an object.” Reminisces Jariet Oloyé, the jewellery artist and object maker who was born and raised in Nigeria before moving to the United Kingdom. Oloyé is known for her mastery of metal and glass, experimenting with both materials to create effects that are unique, but fuse her core interests of culture reimagined, colour and texture celebrated, and handmade craft championed.
In many ways, her making philosophy can be seen as a continuum of lessons learned during her childhood spent in the countryside in Kwara state, a region that is known for its woven cloth and basketry traditions. Like many a rural location, it was a place governed by the natural rhythms of life rather than the cut and thrust of an urban landscape. She adds; “there was a real community spirit and good open spaces where people could meet”. As well as the foundational knowledge garnered in her primary school years, was something profound: an attitudinal mind and heart-space that the traditional craftspeople possessed, one that was in turn imparted on the objects they created, as she notes: “The locality is tranquil and serene, and my pieces of work are derived from this tranquility.”