Olalekan Jeyifous Installs Protest in Cleveland's Public Square

a photograph of an urban park with four yellow and orange public sculptures with buildings in the background
AAP NYC Visiting Lecturer Olalekan 'LEk' Jeyifous's Protest (2017) installed in downtown Cleveland's Public Square. photo / Bob Perkoski
a photograph of an urban park two yellow and orange public sculptures, a woman seated and buildings in the background
Detail and use of Protest. photo / Bob Perkoski
November 7, 2017

AAP NYC Visiting Lecturer Olalekan 'LEk' Jeyifous (B.Arch. '00), has new artwork on view in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of the city's rotating temporary public exhibition program. Jeyifous's 2017 Protest is a series of four 10-foot steel sculptures that are currently installed in the downtown area known as Public Square, a 6 1/2-acre swath of flexible open space that hosts a range of Cleveland's large gatherings, events, and exhibitions.

"I was inspired by the history of protest, peace rallies, and civic gatherings that have taken place in Public Square," Jeyifous mentioned in an article posted to Public Square's news blog. "[I] wanted to acknowledge this tradition through these large-scale characters engaged in various forms of that practice."

Jeyifous's painted steel silhouettes attract attention with their vivid orange and yellow palette and impressive scale, and the work welcomes interaction from visitors who are invited to sit on or gather around the built-in seating platforms at the metal base of each piece. Protest opened in August as the second iteration of the Landform series of artworks that will be selected on a rolling basis by Cleveland's LAND Studios and the Group Plan Commission for installation in Public Square. Jeyifous's sculptures are expected to remain in place through the spring of next year when they will be moved to a to-be-determined location.

Other recent works by Jeyifous include Crown Ether, which was designed and built for the 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and Condition of Exile, which he produced while participating in the Emerging Artist Fellowship program at Socrates Sculpture Park. In addition to his art practice that extends beyond sculpture to other visual media such as drawing and installation, Jeyifous has also worked on several architectural projects and currently teaches Divinity and the Deli, a class in visual representation, at AAP NYC.

By Edith Fikes