In his works, Emma Odumade questions the construct of identity and explores the social constructs of beauty and power through the lives of people he encounters in his native Lagos, Nigeria, merging realistic portraits drawn with pencil and charcoal with collages of photographs and found materials. A recurring material within his work is black tea, which the artist uses to imbue the drawings with a tinge of subtle brown that makes them appear faded.
In his recent work 11, a young child stands at the center of the composition, with her luminous dark skin softly rendered with charcoal. But the rest of her features, such as her clothes and her glasses, are portrayed through thick layers of acrylic paint, which counteracts the hyper-realistic impulse conveyed by the drawn elements. Such a contrast in texture is then intensified through the casual scribbles that fill the background, which combine words, lines, and shapes in an all-over composition, expanding the range of painterly vocabulary employed within the picture frame.