Sheyi Bankale is a photographic artist whose work examines and explores notions and (un)realities of boundaries and borders. Often involving appropriating previous photographic material addressing issues of identity, culture and place from a personal and social-political viewpoint.
Shifting Identity Against Nature is a series of diptych images reformatted from original works and informed by the topical, made in reaction to the social media-scape. Bankale’s challenging collection involves a diversity of social media and his subjects range from anonymous human portraits with the air of Meya Deren’s film characters too often unidentifiable objects. All are irresistibly dreamlike. Working with film, creating images through various influences, the mysterious, sometimes sinisterly sublime subjects and objects are created as constructed sets. Decorated with symbolic references, and combine in a paradoxical and fantastic vision, the conundrum of relevance to contemporary life is abundantly clear, in the most extraordinary parallels between images.
Furthermore, Bankale explodes the enervating kitsch figurine stereotype. Dismantling with irreverence and zest a host of social ideals and sensibility seamlessly with how the identity of a nation consumer culture has transformed into an identity that no longer exists. Coupled with a wealth of endless engaging and inventive single narrative elements of a canny minimal subversiveness.
For the critic John Berger the defining thing about photography is that it confronts us with “the shock of discontinuity,” and meaning demands that we supply each image with a “past and a future”. The shift in question is the narrative – as supplied in Bankale’s stylish narratives that prey upon a conception of identity conceptually.
Like many experimenters in photography, Sheyi Bankale is amongst the new generation immersed in selection-based experimentation. A mosaic overview of his work presents an intuitively mapping of society thriving on unpredictability and marking him as one of photography’s currently significant artists.