Kekere-Ekun was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1993. She received her B.A. and M.A. in Visual Arts from the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos; where she majored in Graphic Design. She also holds a PhD in Art and Design from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Kekere-Ekun artistic practice rests on three foundational pillars. The first is an attraction to lines. The second is the seemingly neutrality of paper; and, the third is use of fabrics in Yorùbá, Nigerian society.
Kekere-Ekun has always had a genuine fascination with lines and how the primary component of all complex forms can be ambiguously loaded with meaning. A line can connect and separate, enclose and exclude, direct and misdirect, all at the same time. To a large extent, her work is a three-dimensional manifestation of lines. She amplifies their complexity by enabling them to catch pockets of light and cast subtle shadows. This becomes an avenue to tease out smaller stories within wider narratives visually.
Kekere-Ekun views paper as a conceptual Trojan horse. It’s a basic, unassuming material that exists in the backgrounds of our lives; bland, reliable, and ordinary. By making paper the visual centerpiece of her art, she encourages her audience to reconsider the material’s value and potential. This re-examination also underscores a running theme in her art practice, which is that things are rarely what they appear to be.
Lastly, across her art practice, Kekere-Ekun uses fabrics as a reference to the practice of Aṣọ ẹbi in Nigerian society. Aṣọ ẹbi, which translates to “family cloth” refers to the selection of a fabric that serves as a “uniform” worn by families and friends alike during communal ceremonies such as weddings, birthdays and funerals. It is intended to be a show of love, support and camaraderie. The practice has, however, been corrupted in contemporary times, becoming a common source of disputes when prices are excessively inflated to turn a profit and community members are unable or unwilling to acquire the fabric. Kekere-Ekun use of fabrics references how the positive can quickly mutate to take on negative connotations. It is also a visual representation of societal pressure and expectations.
Kekere-Ekun enjoys exploring themes related to gender, memory, mythology and identity. Due to childhood trauma, she does not have memories of her early years. Her body of work for the Absa L’Atelier attempts to reconstruct the idea of childhood, real and imagined.