The artist behind the lens

Whose House? Iyunade’s house

known as Iyuna in the art world, has transformed his living space into a colourful sanctuary that reflects his creative soul.

Originally from Ogun, Nigeria, Judah is an artist-photographer and filmmaker who explores the Black experience from an African perspective in the diaspora. He works on projects about Black masculinity, gender and Afrocentrism, highlighting African art and identity.

His signature style incorporates vivid colours, striking African prints and a distinctive gold or yellow undertone. These elements vividly represent African art and identity, offering a powerful visual narrative within a global context.

Vibrant portraits adorn the walls of Judah’s home. This lively display helps to set a tone of creativity and expression.

“I want this space to be colourful. I don’t like minimalism. I prefer bright colours like red and yellow,” he says.

The centrepiece of his living area is a tall and meticulously arranged shelf, almost like a work of art in itself. It offers a glimpse into Judah’s diverse interests. The shelf is adorned with custom-made African sculptures, some of them delightful thrift store finds.

It also houses his vintage and advanced camera gear. “I have a camera that uses tape, a film camera and even a folding camera,” he says.

A vintage chair from the 1970s, another thrifted treasure, sits next to this eccentric shelf. The chair adds a touch of nostalgia and also serves as a funky piece of art within the space.

“I found it from a vintage collector on Facebook marketplace,” Judah says. “I love vintage stuff. That’s why I thrift a lot.”

The lounge area houses his cherished record collection and a vintage record player.

“I like a lot of unique, niche sounds, like Osibisa. It’s a Ghanaian Afro-rock band,” he says. “I also listen to this old Ghanaian rock government band. It’s mostly traditional music.”

Every nook and cranny of Judah’s home tells a story, from carefully thrifted artworks to dried flower bouquets and eclectic shelves. Even his collection of books reflects his passion for photography.

The collection includes titles about Audrey Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, portrait photography and aperture. “Most of my books are thrifted or gifts from friends. I use them for inspiration in my projects,” Judah says.

In this vibrant living space, one can peel back the layers of the artist behind the lens. This intimate glimpse sets the stage for a journey into Judah’s world of photography, where he weaves captivating stories through his lens. With each click, he invites others to see the world from his perspective bursting with colour, life and creativity.

Book collection - “This is some of my book collection. Most of the books are either gifted or thrifted. Sometimes I use them to find inspiration for my projects. I even have a book about portrait pictures from the 1800s.”

Past Work (left) - “This is one of my favorite pieces I’ve created. It’s from 2019, and they’re twin sisters.”

The centrepiece (right) - “This is basically our creative shelf. There’s a bunch of stuff we’ve bought and collected, like sculptures, some art pieces we made and lots of camera equipment. We actually had to take out some things because we had too (much) random stuff.”

Thrift finds - “I found this old radio when I was thrift shopping. It actually still works. Someone just needs to turn the dial.”

Published in Volume 78, Number 06 of The Uniter (October 19, 2023)

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