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ANA Spotlight: Deborah Segun

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Deborah Segun is among Africa’s female artists to look out for. Based in Lagos, Nigeria, Deborah is a multidisciplinary artist with a unique style. She graduated from the Polimoda Institute of Fashion Design and Marketing in Florence, Italy, with a degree in Fashion Design in 2017. While studying fashion, she utilized her artistic skills to design conceptual and sculptural wearable pieces, incorporating her own unique style into her fashion creations. 

Deborah’s practice is a fusion of cubism and abstraction with a focus on form over detail. She confronts her perspective of the world by employing a deconstructed and reductive style in her paintings, using exaggerated and fragmented shapes to depict women in contemplation or repose. Using a variety of artistic mediums, Deborah creates figurative works with an emphasis on portraiture. 

Image courtesy of avantarte

The portrayal of the African female form in Deborah Segun’s works differs from contemporary depictions, as it delves inward and concentrates on her individual encounters and quest for self acceptance, which is a challenge that women across the globe face. She draws inspiration from her personal and shared experiences as a woman, and also by observing whatever environment she finds herself in. In an attempt to capture these experiences she experiments with colors and shapes to portray a sense of simplicity and calmness amidst complexity She exaggerates the figures or displaces them, as she believes it is her own way of confronting how she sees things. She also likes to isolate shapes from the subjects/objects and put them together to create a new composition.

Image courtesy of avantarte

She uses her work as a commentary on the historical underrepresentation of black women in art, drawing inspiration from artists like Picasso. Through her pieces, she reflects her personal journey as a young woman, exuding vibrancy while also feeling protected, and creates a visual diary of her self-discovery. Segun’s art challenges conventional reality and strives to carve out a unique place for herself in contemporary art and society.


Joy Adeboye is a creative writer and visual storyteller. She is a graduate of the Department of English and Literary Studies at Obafemi Awolowo University. She is currently a Writer for Art News Africa.

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