Previous exhibitions and projects
The Next Wave: The Power of Authenticity and Self Validation, HAART, Hoxton Arches, London, 2019
Exhibitionist Hotel, London 2018
Square Gallery, London 2018
Arts Alive Gallery, London 2018
House Of MTV, London 2017
Circle 1 Gallery, Berlin 2017
Musée Noir, London 2017
198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, London 2017
Frieze Art Fair, London, 2016
Gallery On The Corner, London 2016
About the artist
Emmanuel Unaji is a multimedia artist based in London. Combining painting, drawing, collage and fashion design, Unaji’s style is rebellious and bold. Alongside his brother Lemuel, Emmanuel has created the clothing label “UNAJI” which merges art into fashion. Emmanuel has studied fashion design and is currently pursuing a degree in Fine Art at Kingston University, London.
Sources of inspiration
Popular culture and Christianity are central to Unaji's practice and the tension between what is viewed as morally “right” or “wrong” heavily influences his artistic process. Translating this into mixed media works, Unaji’s art frequently serves as oxymoron - 'Innocent Sin' is an example of a topic loaded with religious connotations that he uses as a starting point for his artistic process.
Inspired by the fashion industry, Unaji frequently takes fragments of magazine photographs to which he adds painted, drawn or sculpted elements. Blurring the boundaries between fine art and fashion design, he works under the clothing label “UNAJI” to combine mixed media works and other practices to create wearable art and accessories like printed denim jackets, which have caught the attention of international musicians.
What lies beneath the surface
Unaji’s work is principally an exploration of what lies beneath the surface. He critically examines our tendency to form opinions on the basis of media headlines and photographs, thereby critiquing the digital era we live in and the vast amount of information we are bombarded with on a daily basis.
The contrasting aspects of his characters, who frequently appear as images torn between beauty and high-fashion on the one hand and deep-suffering on the other, aim to give us a glimpse into complex personal realities.
“I want my work to develop into a fluid cycle of organic practices and collaborations, merging fine art, music and clothing and to expand the range of my artistic practice.” - Emmanuel Unaji