Joy Labinjo

Joy Labinjo’s large-scale figurative paintings often depict intimate scenes of historical and contemporary life, both real and imagined and often based on figures appearing in personal and archival imagery that include family photographs, found images and historical material. In the past, she has explored themes including but not limited to identity, political voice, power, Blackness, race, history, community and family and their role in contemporary experience.  


Her work presents fresh and arresting compositions of colour, pattern and motifs: key signatures of Labinjo’s work. Fundamentally, at the heart of Labinjo’s practice is a bold interest in storytelling and ultimately, people’s lives. Exploring multiple modes of representation including abstraction, naturalism, flatness and graphic patterns, Labinjo’s ‘collage aesthetic’ comprises an eclectic visual vocabulary and mixed painterly techniques which echo her experience of multiple identities – growing up Black, British, Nigerian in the 90s and early 00s. 


Labinjo was awarded the Woon Art Prize in 2017. Her acclaimed commission for the Brixton Underground Station in London, UK, 5 more minutes, was on view throughout November 2022. Recent exhibitions include: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK (2023); Vanhaerents Collection at Tripostale, Lille, UK (2023); Kunsthal Kade, Amersfoort, Netherlands (2023); Zeitz MOCAA, South Africa (group - 2022); Women's Art Collection, Cambridge, UK (group -2022); Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, UK (2022), Tiwani Contemporary, Lagos, Nigeria (2022), Commission for The Becontree Estate Centenary 2021, London, UK (2021); Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), Marrakech, Morocco (2021), Royal Academy, London, UK (2020), The Breeder Gallery, Athens, Greece (2020), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2019); Bloc Projects, Sheffield, UK (2019); Tiwani Contemporary, London, UK, (2018)

Works in the collection