Family Portrait

Toyin Ojih Odutola was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States when she was five years old. She made a series of artworks that portray an invented story about two fictional, wealthy Nigerian families joined by marriage. Her images never tell the whole story. Instead, they present mysterious moments from the family’s private lives and surroundings. Ojih Odutola’s figures invite us to imagine connections between them, their families, and the world they inhabit.  

Make a portrait of your family from fragments or pieces of their personalities and lives. How many people are there in your family? What does your family like to do together? Draw six boxes on a sheet of paper. Fill each box with a detail or object from your family’s life that provides a clue to who your family is and how you spend time together. 

For example: 

  • Front door 
  • Family pet 
  • Favorite piece of furniture 
  • Youngest person in the family 
  • Oldest person in the family 
  • Decorations on the fridge 
  • Favorite meal 
  • Bedtime story

See all Whitney Kids Art Challenges.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Wall of Ambassadors, 2017. Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper, 40 x 30 inches. ©Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

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