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Ádun, 2021, Peformance by Multidiscplinary Artist Tomilola Olumide

Ádun, 2021 | Performance, 50 mins

Material (Body, Agbalumo fruit skin, Raffia rope, Lace fabric, Balloons, Paper)


Ádun is a Yoruba word which means ‘sweetness,’ as a performance it portrays sentimental reckonings between time shifts by a displaced subject, who uses the word as a term of empowerment; providing comfort, laughter, healing, peace and resilience past a season of hardship into joy.

Reflective Notes on Áduns’ Performance

A frustrated being sits down taking centre stage to grieve, grieving for minutes on end and empathising with their own inherent self-pity, unable to get out of the muck.

Through these moments it prays, it sobs, it asks through guttural sounds, why me, why me, where, where?

Has thoughts, unclean thoughts, violent thoughts, broken thoughts, unbecoming thoughts, it casts them away and cries some more.

Crying seems to be a remedy to the being; the noises seem to be the beginning outlet to the state of grief it ruminates within.

Curved mumbled sobs made are the comforting hand on the shoulder that is followed by the words ‘don’t cry again’ in Yoruba ‘'Ma sukun mo!’'.. self-soothing in a moment of turmoil.


Golden balloons pop! 6 at a time, to represent an explosive device of suicide to end the beings' struggle and tournament with living. After this event, it remains alive and self-soothes some more with the shells of Agbalumo. Agbalumos are a comforting fruit, they bring joy and an essence of nostalgic presence to a younger self in peace. The consumption of their items is a moment of joy.


Nollywood- Mama G

Thinking about my woes. Sighing in long stretches, fast movements out of a trance and into a place of reality, the being has reconnected with where they are.

Guttural noises again – from dad on early morning school days


get up, get up, get up, get up… get ready for your day.


Hand out to the heavens asking the creator to get self-up.


Ádun begins to speak repetitively and in a way that calls to its spirit, igniting a prayer and faith within the idea of transition past the present.

Go’s back to the ground....being must pick self-up, being must tell self stop, being must sorrow no more, being must say enough!


Paper is grabbed from wall pocket, writing begins, mofe owo, mofe ra ile, mofe ko ile, mofe bimo, mofe se leyi, mofe, se leyi mofe, se leyi…

I want money, I want to buy a house, I want to build a house, I want to have children, I want, I want, I want…

It’s written so aggressively that the papers get dragged, tossed, turned, pulled-apart, torn and discarded into nothingness. All the aspirational writings become refuse.

The being begins to see the usefulness in it after all.

“There's so much nonsense here, maybe it can be my gold. What do I have here that I can use?”


Being begins to tear up everything and all the paper turns into money, balloons pop continuously.

A gaze is set to see the window, light moves through, being pauses and thinks about their life.

''Woe is me''

''Woe is me''

''Woe is me''

They are in a whimsical Disney production with singing, and now the trance is over, very over.

Singing continues and then papers get thrown up and sprayed in the air, balloon pops!


Being instructs self after leaving the window, and gives commands on body movements and positioning. The scream gives a clear distinct unpleasant space to mourn quickly. Laughter comes after and the questioning comes next.

''Now that you’ve gotten all that you want and all that’s within you out of your system, doesn’t that feel better?''

It responds, yes.

Being stretches out body and begins to say 'Ádun', it will be sweet.

The intonation changes in the Yoruba context and it changes from it will be sweet to I am telling you it will be sweet, to sweetness.

It changes from ''Ádun to Áadun to Ádun''.


''Gbomi, Ádun'', listen to me it will be sweet. It then becomes a play on faith, manifestation and anticipation of peace instead of sorrow.

A self-assurance rather than pity is done here.


Lippy sounds begin again and breathing takes place at a deeper and longer capacity.



It is tired and resting unable to move too much in this moment of absorption.


Sounds of the church begin to come in, they are healing sounds and songs said at the end of prayers and hymns, the hymn amazing grace is hummed then following the Amen.


Amen is said, a plead to the lord to strengthen the journey of the season.

Then being says to self-soothe repetitively

''Eni to ba ni itelorun mati ni owun gbo gbo''

''Eni to ba ni itelorun mati ni owun gbo gbo''

''Eni to ba ni itelorun mati ni owun gbo gbo''

''Eni to ba ni itelorun mati ni owun gbo gbo''

(A person who has contentment has everything)


Contentment is in question because the being in moments of frustration is unable to make peace on what they have achieved and lost.

After its loss it then finds peace.


A loose noose hovers over its neck to show defeat, agbalumo decorates the skull to show wisdom. It surrenders and accepts defeat to peace and exists the scene of madness into joy.


Learn more

Ádun Performance video:

Beyond Otherness exhibition:

Project Instagram:

Ádun was performed live at the Beyond Otherness exhibition, OpenHand OpenSpace Gallery, Reading, UK in July 2021.

The Beyond Otherness exhibition also included work from fellow Artists, Thirsika Jeyapalan, Maryam Kazimi, Nacheal Catnott, Oren Shoesmith, G.K. Field and Ollie Musson.

Special thanks to Project Facilitator Peter Driver and the OpenHand OpenSpace Gallery for their support.

© 2024 Tomilola Olumide, All Rights Reserved
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