Kambui Olujimi invites his audience to engage in social customs like dream interpretation, penny wishing, and photo sharing (in the contemporary sense) to make artwork that expresses ideas about mythology, fantasy, and imagination. He works in many genres and a wide range of venues to encounter different types of audiences. Fishing for Wishes was an installation piece exhibited in a bank in Queens, New York. It consisted of a table filled with pennies, that gave special mention to ten influential wishes in the artist’s life. Placing the artwork in a bank highlighted the symbolic value of the copper-plated objects as a form of currency (in its lowest denomination) and as a conduit for superstition – the collection of which, in both cases, represents the accumulation of good fortune. The customers of the bank were presented with the option of depositing their pennies in the collective table of wishes in the midst of taking care of their day-to-day banking. The Lost Rivers Dream Index is an installation inspired by interpretive dream books that can be found in North America, the Caribbean and China. Olujimi was fascinated by the books as records of cultural mythologies that are thought to be visualized in the human mind during sleep. For his installation, he was interested in the relationship between the authors and readers of dream books. He created an 85 foot mural illustration of a dream book to observe how the audience intreperted the symbols, deciding what to keep, believe, doubt or leave behind. A Life in Pictures was a two day photo-sharing event that took place at a non-profit arts space where Olujimi printed out over a thousand of his own digital images to exchange with visitors for pictures from their lives. The picture exchange mimicked the way the public shares images online, but decontextualized the exchange by creating a physical space for the giving and receiving of photographs. The audience was made up of people who were invited by the artist, as well as visitors who were made aware through the gallery’s website, in addition to whomever happened into the space during regular hours. The project reflected how virtual communication shifts the meaning of biography and authorship when identities are increasingly informed by social media, and the collection of images it perpetuates. He generously collects symbols by which human reality is constructed, and gives these collections back to the public as evidence of the collective imagination.
Click here to see the un-edited footage of Kambui.
Fishing for Wishes, 2004
The Lost River’s Dream Index, 2007
From A Life in Pictures photo exchange at Apex Art, 2012
From Mis-Marked series, 2011, paper, ink, paint