About the Artist

Born and raised in London, I grew up in a household surrounded by fabrics and threads, learning dressmaking from a young age. At secondary school I was designing and making clothes for my friends and relatives. I took my skills and talents further to work as a couture dressmaker with Beauchamp Place couturier ‘Regamus’. In the mid eighties I studied BA Hons Embroidery Textiles at University of London Goldsmiths College. After which, I exhibited my woven textiles artwork in exhibitions put on by the bourgeoning black art scene in London at that time. I worked freelance making couture clothing, handmade soft furnishing commissions and developed my own collection of children’s wear using Dutch wax resist fabrics, known commonly as African print.

A decade later, with a growing family, I returned to Goldsmiths College to study PGCE secondary in Art & Design, after which I  taught in secondary schools across inner London for 18 years. As head of department, I worked in collaboration with Goldsmiths’ PGCE course, mentoring beginning art teachers.

I have and continue to write teaching packs and conduct educational workshops for children, family groups, teaching and gallery staff at Horniman Museum, Museum of London, 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning and Pitshanger Gallery. I was education advisor on the board of 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning from 2003 to 2009, after which I continued supporting the gallery delivering Arts Awards projects and offering mentoring support to young people interested in the creative industries.

Since leaving my last permanent teaching position in 2012, I  successfully completed the Professional Development Sculpture course at KCC with a Distinction and am currently working as a freelance artist & designer maker whilst continuing education work and exam moderation. I offer services for artist commissioned drawings and sculpture, bespoke tailoring and art education packages, workshops and teaching materials.

Currently based in Noord-Holland, Netherlands, my growing art practice centres on my personal experiences as a first generation black queer person living in Northen Europe as a starting point. Exploring how memories of trauma impacts on our bodies, self-perception and our sense of belonging in society. Paintings and sketches centre my own body as subject. Working with fabric, I am working on the construction of doll-like figures. Using clay, the figurative forms take on a more visceral and at times disturbing appearance.

In 2014 I began training as a practitioner of compassionate communication using the process known as NVC, Non-Violent Communication. This methodology has played a significant role in my personal development and healing from trauma, giving me a vocabulary to connect with, explore and express my emotions. Finding that my training experience in NVC in London and Amsterdam lacked diversity and recognition of marginalised experiences, my aim is to bring intersectionality and diversity into the practice and training of NVC.

Using this method of compassionate communication as a base, I offer a 1:1 service in Empathic Listening and have introduced workshops and talks about this and Empathy Buddies to the queer communities in Amsterdam and Berlin 2015 to 2017

In 2015 I ran a series of weaving workshops teaching local women in Amsterdam West the techniques of making and weaving on a backstrap loom at the community based textile studio Het Gildelab.

For further information, commissions or enquiries relating to my work with Art Education, NVC or workshop delivery in any of these areas, please contact me on folami_b@icloud.com

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