Peju Alatise

By Joanna Chan

Introduction 

Peju Alatise is a Nigerian born painter, sculptor, poet, and writer, and a leader for feminist activism. She is currently one of the top selling female artists among painters in Nigeria. Her beautiful artwork portrays women in beautiful ways and advocates for their rights and freedom. 

Early Life

Peju Alatise was born in 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria to a Muslim family. Alatise had dreams of becoming a successful artist ever since she was a young girl (Biography- Peju Alatise). Despite her young childhood dreams, her father wanted Alatise to choose a career that was more economically stable, and less risky. Her mother, however, really believed in her artistic dreams, and believed that one day she would become a successful artist. Alatise decided to study Architecture at Ladoke Akintola University like her father wanted her too. Although he sadly passed away, he eventually ended up supporting Alatise’s dreams to become an artist. At University, although studying architecture, Alatise was able to study art on the side at local shops (Culture Trip). 

Peju Alatise with her artwork courtesy of Espact

Career 

Peju Alatise’s art career began with simple, yet still beautiful paintings. She then ventured into many other types of art mediums such as beads, cloth, sculptors, novels, and poetry. Her art began to gain more recognition overtime and became inspirational to many people (Culture Trip). She began to have common themes in her artwork that include political issues, religion and advocating for women’s freedoms in equality and female empowerment, especially in Nigeria. She began to win many art awards and her art began to make her a lot of money. Her art is now in museums such as the Smithsonian and the National Museum of African Art. She had a piece of artwork titled “Ascension” that was sold at the highest price for new artists at the Nigerian Art Auction. She also won the 2017 FNB Art Prize in Johannesburg, South Africa. She wrote a book titled Orita Meta that explores the journey of three women. Orita Meta was the first novel she has ever published and it gained her a nomination for the Flora Nwapa Prize for Women’s Writing (Culture Trip). 

When Dawn Breaks, 2005 courtesy of Artnet

Inspiration 

“Being successful is a relative term… because what I think successful is may be different to you. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a housewife, or a hairdresser, I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a woman president, I don’t think there is anything wrong with being your true self. I think the biggest inspiration a child can have is to see the truth, not everyone is born to be a female president or woman astronaut. I think the biggest example we can set as human beings is to be true and honest to who we are.” (Peju Alatise, Diamond Woman’s Women of Vision Interview, 2015). This quote is extremely inspiring to not just women, but everyone in the world because she is saying that the most important aspect of being successful is being your true authentic self and I couldn’t agree more. Peju Alatise’s commitment to being her true self is what pushed her and led her to be so successful because she was doing what she loved, despite other people telling her she should not pursue a career in art. It is inspiring that the art she made embodies female empowerment and shows that a little girl can be and do anything she wants in the world, despite society telling her differently. Peju Alatise’s beautiful artwork will leave a lasting impact on society and will forever help to transform the lives of young inspiring individuals. 

Peju Alatise Interview from Diamond Woman’s Women of Vision via Youtube.

Works Cited 

Amber , Tiffany. Diamond Woman’s Women of Vision – Peju Alatise . Diamond Women’s Women of Vision- Peju Alatise , Nigerian Women of Vision , 1 May 2015, http://www.diamondwomen.com.ng. 

Alatise, Peju. “When Dawn Breaks, 2005.” Artnet, art net.com. 

Alatise, Peju. “The Way She Likes It, 2004.” Artnet, art net.com. 

Alatise, Peju. “See me Series, 2015.” Artnet, art net.com. 

Alatise, Peju. “Purple Period, 2011.” Artnet, art net.com. 

Alatise, Peju. “Untitled, 2016.” Artnet, art net.com. 

Amber , Tiffany. Diamond Woman’s Women of Vision – Peju Alatise . Diamond Women’s Women of Vision- Peju Alatise , Nigerian Women of Vision , 1 May 2015, http://www.diamondwomen.com.ng. 

“BIOGRAPHY- PEJU ALATISE.” PEJU ALATISE, pejualatise.com . 

Culture Trip. “Peju Alatise’s ‘Wrapture,” Cloth, & The Human Condition.” Culture Trip, The Culture Trip, 18 Dec. 2013, theculturetrip.com/africa/nigeria/articles/wrapture-cloth-and-the-human-condition-peju-alatise-s-mixed-media-exhibition/. 

“Sulger Buel Gallery I Péju Alatise I Biography.” Sulger, http://www.sulger-buel-gallery.com/artists/47-peju-alatise/biography/. 

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