June 1, 2021

Nifemi Ogunro Debuts Sculptural Wood Furnishings

“When creating, I consider my Blackness, my Nigerian-ness, my queerness, my femininity,” Nifemi Ogunro states. “And what it means to take up space in an environment that tradi­tion­ally uses people that look like me for labor, rather than as people whose stories are worth sharing.” The Lyon-born, North Carolina–raised Ogunro certainly has a story worth sharing. Recently, she worked for sculptor Michael Beitz and grew her own furniture portfolio during downtime at his Colorado studio. She then moved to New York for gra­duate school and last September, debuted select pieces at Superhouse and Open Studio. Mrs. Sola and Tob(i) are bent-plywood stools, while Tope is a log-topped table carved by chainsaw. Her Untitled plant stand started in wood, too, before she rubbed on a gritty concrete coating by hand. “Textures are an interesting way to play with this dystopian time,” she says. For the photo shoot, Ogunro placed her “functional sculptures” askew in the landscape, with herself as the model. “There’s disparity between the people who get credited for a product and the people whose hands actually built the product,” she adds. “I use my skin to assert my presence, that Black and Brown people do exist in this world.” 

Ogunro poses with three of her pieces. Photography by Dion Lamar Mills. 

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