BA Fine Art Painting - Camberwell College of Arts, 2022
David Sanya is an artist born and raised in Lagos, who migrated to the UK in 2016. He is known for his simplistic photographs frequently referencing influences from old romantic paintings and colonial Nigerian history.
Sanya creates a cross-cultural fusion of contemporary Africa using elements of the sublime as a base. He centre-frames characters, facing them off in an immersive confrontation with vastness, awe and terror. To some extent, his work is a constant reminder of our innate encounter with the vast aspects of nature and a sublime visual meeting with our powerlessness at the hands of the oppressor.
While his photographs may be perceived as beautiful on the surface, the concepts behind them confront the horrors of the past. The ugliness becomes awry, and we begin to understand why these characters are where they are and why they have made their choices. Fragments of identity may never be complete as we are just slivers of our true selves, and what we allow people to see depends on societal norms. Still, this ever-changing complexity varies, and we are faced with this unique encounter of the individual unknown.
Sanya has been awarded the Cedric Morris Travel Award to further his research on the sublime in Badagry, Nigeria, where he hopes to create a new body of work.
"I hope that the audience will take away tranquility from my work, and some sort of understanding of the migrant perspective of the sublime."