Observations–Artist and Influencer Folasade Adeoso IRL
This week we are happy to reveal part II of The Folklore’s new blog series –– "Observations". Curated by The Folklore Team, "Observations" is a periodic series that strives to share the personal observations of artists, musicians, designers, and other creatives from around the world. The observations each subject shares primarily focus on topics related to love, art, health, food, spirituality, and anything else that compels them.
Our second Observations subject is 32-year old, Nigerian-Canadian artist, restauranter, and influencer, Folasade Adeoso. No, you cannot call her Fola. The New York City-based ("for now") resident, owns and operates Teranga, one of the city’s few conceptual West African(-esque) fast-casual eateries, and maintains a successful career as a collage artist and muse.
Both Adeoso's culinary pursuits and artistry draw from her textured interpretation of what it means to be West African and her observations about the global African diaspora. In fashion, she’s part of a network of creators mixing high street brands with luxury African designer goods in a way that manages to be highly-Instagrammable and discursive, evoking conversations about conceptions of beauty and womanness in the modern imagination.
Adeoso's visual pull and raw self-awareness have earned her a sizable following on Instagram, with 85.4k people tuned into her life. “I’m just out here being myself and sharing the bits of my life that I want to share,” she says. “No personas, just Folasade.” Her page is a collage in its own right--a mix of her artwork, which tackles religion, human interaction, pop culture, ethnography, motherhood and childhood using complex graphics and images of black and brown bodies both famous and not; her favorite Pan-African literature; topless mirror selfies; editorial-like shots of her milling around town and; anecdotes that cause even the most detached of viewers to stop and think.
This month, Folasade welcomed The Folklore team into her Harlem home to answer a few questions and to show us how she finds balance in The Folklore's Spring/Summer 2019 styles from Cape Town womenswear brand Selfi and Johannesburg hat brand Simon and Mary.
Dress - Color Block Wrap Dress by Selfi // Fez Military Hat (Orange) by Simon and Mary
I’ve always been about substance. Sometimes that gets lost in influencer work but I’ve always spoken up about what it means to be an influencer in your community, not just online. I never finished college because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I must say the biggest education I’ve gotten was through life experiences. I’ve learned so much, taught myself things, and learned from others.
I only create when I am moved to create. My art is a personal outlet so I never force it. I draw a lot of my inspiration from nature - flowers, birds, butterflies. At times I get inspired by current events. Because I make digital collages I use Photoshop, do a ton of research, save random photos.
Teranga's food is coming from a more health-conscious lens. We take the time to tell the story and the historical connection between West African food and foods one may find in Brazil, The Carribean and The South. We’re also introducing people to things like moringa, Liberian red rice, and fonio - ancient foods from the continent that have been put on the back burner because of importation of colonized goods from the West or Asia, like white rice. We’re also very community involved. We host dance parties, movie nights and meetups
People tend to gravitate towards my style, it commands the attention of people or even an entire room.
The last book I read was Black Boy, the autobiography of Richard Wright. I found myself relating to him and caring about the same topics that he would investigate in his life’s musings. A lot of that was questioning what it meant to Black in America. It was published in 1954 and eerily enough but without surprise, it is still very relevant. I am currently reading The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I am halfway through it and my goodness...this book is a modern classic. For his debut fiction novel, Coates has set the bar very high.
I ran away to Mexico City in October. I booked the flight spontaneously for my birthday. It was my first time there and it was the best thing I’ve done for myself in such a long time. During my trip, I booked a few experiences: a running tour through parts of Mexico City, a yoga and meditation session, a cooking lesson, and a tour guide through Frida Kahlo’s hometown.
Photography - Amandla Baraka
Producer - Raven Irabor
Styling - Folasade Adeoso
Writer - Amber Nicole Alston