Venice Biennale 2021: Péju Alatise

How will we leave together?

Image 1 – How will we live together?

The image is a sneak peek of Alasiri (keeper of secrets), an installation comprising 40 doors and 13 life-size figurative sculptures.

The Yoruba have a saying: “Oni yara rebete gba ogun omo okurin ti wan ba fera denu”(The tiniest room can accommodate 20 men if they have a deep understanding of one another). The Yoruba also believe a person is like a door: to open it is to become part of its secret (“Eniyan ni ilekun; ti oba gba e laye ki owole, odi alasiri”).

This installation offers the viewer the opportunity to be an outsider looking in where doors represent human barriers. The silhouettes of people within the doors portray the vulnerabilities of human existence. Some of the doors may be closed; others can be opened. The silhouettes reveal cultural identities representative of men, women and children.


Photo: Adeyinka Akingbade


Image 2 – Sneak peek of the project
The image is a work-in-progress shot of Alasiri (keeper of secrets) in a section of Peju Alatise’s purpose-built art studio in Lagos, Nigeria. Some of the media/materials used in the creation of the installation include: mild steel, resin, fiberglass and textile. The dimensions of the doors are 850 mm by 2100 mm while the life-size figurative sculptures vary in heights from 1400 mm to 2400 mm.


Photo: Adeyinka Akingbade

May 4, 2021
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