OLEVIA SESAY: THE BIRDS AND THE BEES – 30th April to 31st May 2019

Please ring to view 020 8464 5816
30th April to 31st May 2019
Open evening 7th May 2019 7-9pm

Traditionally the birds and the bees refers to the conversation between parents and children about sexual reproduction in humans. Though asexual in nature, ‘the birds and the bees’ is a perfect expression of the type of mutually beneficial relationship that plants have with their polinators and that humans in turn have with plants. The exhibition is a call to action, it’s offering an opportunity to see the natural world through my eyes, it is an effort to redirect the mind to the benefits of helping the natural world to thrive so we can too.

Increasingly as humans move toward lifestyles more detached from nature we begin to see ourselves as separate, not internalizing the fact that that we were designed to be in symbiotic relationship, a continuous mutual exchange, with the natural world. Historically art has been used as a vehicle for education and awareness, and I’m seeking to use my paintings of botanical subjects to place before the eyes what is often ignored when put into words. I’m seeking to highlight the beauty of nature, the transience of life, the plight of pollinators, the symbiotic relationship they have with plants and by extension the relationship and responsibility that humans have with and to them.

Olevia Sesay Biography:

“Every child is an artist, the trouble is how to stay one when he grows up”-Pablo Picasso. That quote by Picasso resonates with me as that has most definitely been my story. My name is Olevia Sesay and I have been making art since I was 8 years old. As I’ve grown older I have sometimes struggled to reconcile art-making with being a ‘responsible adult’. I find the paradox often occurs when it comes to the point of making a career choice since unfortunately art is still not seen in the mainstream as a viable career choice but a path for the lucky few who manage to ‘make it’. I studied painting in the Caribbean at the EDNA Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, then went on to study portraiture at The Heatherley School of Fine Art before pursuing a more academic route in the study of History of Art BA, and subsequently an MA in Art History. I made the decision to pursue academia in conjunction with my artistic practice in an effort to understand the factors that have driven art making in the past, the motivations of the various artists who have made their marks in this world and in an effort to understand my place within the western artistic tradition. My search for my identity as an artist and for the meaning in my work developed into an important research based project called The Orisha Project in which I explore and try to represent the personalities of the pantheon of Yoruba God’s called the Orisha. My artistic practice encapsulates the use of different media and subject matters and I find that I often work on multiple projects simultaneously. I paint portraits by commission in oil, I am also currently in the process of working on The Orisha Project. My botanical work however, is deeply personal and is a means of disconnecting from art-making as ‘work’ and reconnecting with painting as ‘pleasure’. I began painting my botanical subjects in watercolour as a means of self soothing and to satisfy my own search and longing for a closer relationship with the natural world. I initially just looked; spent hours observing the work of bees, ants, wasps, flies, birds and butterflies. Then I began to really notice the structures of the plants that sustained them. Looking led to thinking about how perfectly they were constructed to nurture each other and that looking and thinking led to me wanting to replicate what I saw and fell in love with in the world. My aim in presenting this body of paintings is to place before your eyes what is often overlooked. In our busy lives we often don’t have the time or the inclination to stop and really notice the things that make life possible and worth living. By magnifying these sometimes miniscule interactions I’m seeking to highlight their importance not only to the direct participants but to us all. By placing before your eyes a bee at work, I’m talking to you about the beauty and transience of life. I’m trying to tell you that we won’t be here very long, that our lives like the birds and the bees will be full of constant toil but it is worth the effort for the drops of nectar we receive in return. I’m trying to tell you that this is the purest essence of what life means on this beautiful earth. Im trying to tell you to take joy in living because it is all too fleeting. I’m telling you to go about the business of living diligently and responsibly but with a sense of wellbeing, knowing that each day on earth will provide everything you need to do, learn, have and be for that day.