We don’t know whether to first call Ojo Agi an artist or a writer. Her website features a number of essays as well as portrait illustrations of people of colour. But we feel that these illustrations work best when they support Agi’s insightful essays.
With her work, both words and illustrations, Agi focuses on issues of cultural identity, belonging, assimilation and stereotypes; all issues that people from dual cultures face. For example, she talks about how this prevalent and seemingly innocuous question “where are you really from?” can thoroughly destabilise someone and make them feel unaccepted.
Or how cultural stereotypes (e.g. Black men are expected to be aggressive) can trap someone into thinking they should behave as expected, instead of forging their own paths and being themselves.
Aji’s most recent essay is Daughters of Diaspora: Beyond Expectations. Here, she illustrates portraits of 20 women with immigrant African parents, and sends a strong message about each one of them being themselves despite what people, including their parents, expect.