fbpx Biennale Architettura 2021 | Peju Alatise
La Biennale di Venezia

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Peju Alatise

Alasiri: Doors for Concealment or Revelation

  • TUE - SUN
    22/05 > 31/07
    11 AM - 7 PM

    01/08 > 21/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Peju Alatise (Nigerian, b.1975) of Art Accent Studio (Nigeria, est.2006) in collaboration with Adeyemo Shokunbi (Nigerian, b.1966), Fidelis Odogwu (Nigerian, b.1970) and Yinka Akingbade (Nigerian, b.1980)



The Yoruba have a saying: “Eniyan ni ilekun; ti oba gba e laye ki owole, odi alasiri” (a person is like a door: to open it is to become part of its secret). The we in theme How will we live together? is question is worth exploring. What are the human element that must be addressed in order to live together? This question is especially important in a world where uncontrolled population expansion coupled with environmentally damaging, capitalist consumerism will eventually come to a head with the unavoidable reality of limited space and resources. One certainty is that one must overcome the fear of those who are different from oneself by culture, creed and color. Alasiri is a sculptural installation of doors and figures that allows both one’s vulnerability and those behind the doors to step through and gives visitors an avenue to explore mutual understanding or misunderstanding. Alasiri is the keeper of secrets that one can experience simultaneously as an outsider and insider.

Biennale Sneak Peek

Image 1 – How will we live together?
The image is a sneak peek of Alasiri (keeper of secrets), an installation comprising 40 doors and 13 life-size figurative sculptures.

The Yoruba have a saying: “Oni yara rebete gba ogun omo okurin ti wan ba fera denu”(The tiniest room can accommodate 20 men if they have a deep understanding of one another). The Yoruba also believe a person is like a door: to open it is to become part of its secret (“Eniyan ni ilekun; ti oba gba e laye ki owole, odi alasiri”).

This installation offers the viewer the opportunity to be an outsider looking in where doors represent human barriers. The silhouettes of people within the doors portray the vulnerabilities of human existence. Some of the doors may be closed; others can be opened. The silhouettes reveal cultural identities representative of men, women and children.

Photo: Adeyinka Akingbade


Image 2 – Sneak peek of the project
The image is a work-in-progress shot of Alasiri (keeper of secrets) in a section of Peju Alatise’s purpose-built art studio in Lagos, Nigeria. Some of the media/materials used in the creation of the installation include: mild steel, resin, fiberglass and textile. The dimensions of the doors are 850 mm by 2100 mm while the life-size figurative sculptures vary in heights from 1400 mm to 2400 mm.

Photo: Adeyinka Akingbade


Art Accent Studio, Lagos
Patrickwaheed Design Consultancy
Art Pantheon Limited
Rele Art Foundation
Vernacular Art-space Laboratory
Goethe-Institut, Nigeria

Production credits

Art accent studio artists: Segun Obadiya, Rilwan Yusuf, Alli Raheem Owolabi, Chinonso Amarikwa
Ade Shokunbi, PWDC studio; Denrele Sonariwo- Rele Gallery; Fidelis Odogwu and the universal studios Igomu team; Yinka Akingbade and GNO studio teamNana Sonoiki- Artpatheon; Remi Adegbite; Abu Momogima

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Biennale Architettura
Biennale Architettura