Photo of Sophia-Yemisi Adeyemo-Ross

Sophia-Yemisi Adeyemo-Ross



Icon for Unfinished Work Prompt
Sophia-Yemisi Adeyemo-Ross Name Pronunciation

The portraits I paint are love letters. My work references early 20th century photography in West Africa. Colonial photographic practices were often facilitated by missionary societies, which were central to Europe's economic and industrial efforts that used Christianity to justify the exploitative practices of white supremacy. My intention is not to center painful descriptions of history, but rather to critically reinvent depictions of the past so as to imagine an anticipated and liberated alternate state of existence. Interested in Saidiya Hartman’s theory of “critical fabulation,” Yoruba cosmology, and West African folklore, my practice is an embodied relationship with a photographic archive in which I pull from traditional wisdom to blur the binary between past and present. Like pieces of a memory, separate collaged elements come together to create an ancestral plane. The flatness of documentary photography is the raw material with which I honor the subjects of my paintings, seeking liberation through the collectivity of an ancient lineage and the agency of a felt love between colonized people.

Unfinished Work



These works were started a few months ago and have just existed as floating figures. I had made several different environments for them, but nothing seemed to fit, so for now they remain unfinished.


This is a large scale piece in the very early stages of my process. I started this piece in January and I think I became intimidated by the sheer number of figures and the size. I hope to return to it when the time is right.

About the Guild

The RISD Museum Guild is a group of undergraduate students from local colleges and universities who work toward representation, inclusion, and advocacy for student voices in the museum space. We typically plan and facilitate public programs that allow artists from local colleges to share their processes. During the pandemic, the RISD Museum Guild has had to adjust our modes of working collaboratively. Like you, we squished our faces into a shifting mosaic of Zoom rectangles, with members calling in from Providence, New Orleans, New Delhi, London, and more. Unravel: An Anti-Exhibition has grown out of this shared virtual space.






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