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5 more minutes, a new commission by Joy Labinjo now at Brixton Underground. - FAD Magazine

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5 more minutes, a new commission by Joy Labinjo now at Brixton Underground.

Joy Labinjo, 5 more minutes, 2021. Brixton Underground station. Commissioned by Art on the Underground. Courtesy the artist and Tiwani Contemporary. Photo: Angus Mill, 2021

5 more minutes is a new large-scale public commission at Brixton Underground station by Joy Labinjo on view for one year. Drawing on her personal experiences of growing up in the UK with British-Nigerian heritage, the London-based artist’s commission explores ideas of memory and belonging, and the significance of the hair salon as a centre of community in both Labinjo’s personal experience as well as in wider Black British female culture.

5 more minutes depicts the interior of an imagined hair salon, an amalgamation of the spaces that the artist has visited over her life. The scene represents how the salon might look on a Saturday morning, with women and children of different generations gathered and interacting together, including recognisable and nostalgic details from the salon’s interior. The composition of the painting, brought to life using a vivid palette of colours, originates from Labinjo’s
lived experience, using images from memory and family albums, as well as online and historical sources. Hair salons are a core part of the Afro-Caribbean community in Brixton, and notably, have survived the gentrification of the surrounding area, continuing to play an essential role in this community.

Joy Labinjo, 5 more minutes, 2021. Brixton Underground station. Commissioned by Art on the Underground. Courtesy the artist and Tiwani Contemporary. Photo: Angus Mill, 2021

“I am delighted to create this work and it is a homecoming of sorts. Brixton is where I have worked for the past few years and visited my entire life. Its vibrancy and people inspire me daily and has done for many years. As soon as you get out of the station, you know you’ve arrived: the smell of incense; the buskers; the street raconteurs; the fashionable looks; there’s swagger, charisma and thought all around. It’s irresistible. I wanted to make work that reflects not only my own lived experiences but other Black women in London and in the UK. In a city undergoing gentrification and, in a country, in spite of recent discourses, still sceptical of race, immigration and Black culture, the beauty of Brixton needs to be celebrated and protected. It is a living and breathing memory and experience – containing a history and present we can and should all call our own.”

Joy Labinjo

Labinjo’s commission roots itself in the locality of the area and represents the fabric of Brixton’s vibrant and diverse community. Throughout her life, Labinjo would travel to Brixton specifically to get her hair done, and for the artist, hair salons evoke a strong sense of identity and emotional connection, exemplifying Brixton and the strength of its local community. The commission portrays the intimacy of the space – the conversations and relationships between the women taking place there, bringing this Black British female experience to the fore. The artist seeks to anchor the artwork in Brixton, and exemplifies a sense of place through her depiction of the salon, evoking sensual perceptions, smells and sounds, enabling viewers to imagine themselves there. At its core, the commission is a celebration of Black female culture.

About the artist

Joy Labinjo (b.1994, Dagenham, Essex) lives and works in London. The 26-year-old holds a BFA from the University of Newcastle. She was awarded the Woon Art Prize in 2017. She’s currently studying for an MFA at the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford. Recent exhibitions include: Royal Academy (group – 2020), Tiwani Contemporary (solo – 2020), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (solo – 2019). She is represented by Tiwani Contemporary in London.

Brixton Mural Map Art on the Underground has produced a Brixton Mural Map which is available online and in print from Brixton Underground station and Brixton Library. During the 1970s and 80s, London became an important centre for mural production. Murals from this period represent the political climate, social context and communities who collaboratively made them and these qualities define the murals that populate Brixton today. This resource maps out eight of Brixton’s key murals and includes high quality images and historical information as well as dates, context and artists.

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