Peju Alatise : We came with the last Rain: London

Dear Sim, 


It rains in my dreams. Every time I close my eyes, I see rain. Big fat glistening silver droplets. 


Do you remember when we asked our good witch how the clouds become rain? She said the clouds were wings of children that have never visited earth. She said when the children wash their dirty wings, it rains on us. But we didn't believe her; there is no dirt in the sky!


SIM! She is not entirely wrong. Last night I dreamed of rain yet again. Wind swept me up sky high. And I saw it for myself. There are many types of clouds. There are special clouds that are floating babies sleeping in nests like smoke. 


Orunmenitomala took me from Wind and walked me through Orun. Sim, the nests look like smoke but they are really music, strings of music tightly woven together. The music keeps the babies asleep. Orunmenitomala did not speak but I understood all. Orun's words are in the music. 


The music says, “On the right day, at the right moment, at Oya's command,  Orun would loose the music and the melody descends to earth with children, every type of child.” Every drop carries a child. Orunmenitomala said this is why everything grows with rain. 

Sim, now I know why it rains! 

Today my mother came in from work, soaking wet with rain. 

Sim, I am going to have a baby brother! My mother does not know yet. 

Sim, I love you like rain loves earth. 


"We Came With The Last Rain" is a profound artistic endeavor, providing a glimpse into a larger collection centered around the empowering narrative of the girl-child, a theme I've nurtured over the years. At its core lies the story of "Flying Girls," a fictional exploration featuring Sim, a 9-year-old girl navigating the challenges of modern-day Lagos as a rented-out servant. This narrative extends to the unfortunate existence of children roaming the streets for survival, commonly known as ‘Almajiri’—children sent to Islamic boarding schools but ending up begging for alms.

This exhibition acts as a prelude to a broader collection, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the whimsical escapism of Yoruba folklore and mythology.

Reflecting on my grandmother's words in my youth, “Adetoun, this is not the type of rain you play in!”—it's this ‘type of rain’ we observed indoors, watching rain splash against windows, discerning faces in each droplet trickling down the glass. This sentiment is embodied in the installation ‘The Other Side.' Singing my name and oriki, my grandmother's special song, "Adetoun Omoba, ma ma yun oko nigba ojo, ma ma fese kan roro" (Adetoun child of the king, don't play in the farm when it rains, don't step in mud.) Emiogo, a character in 'Flying Girls,' mirrors Adetoun Omoba in the artwork 'I Will Send for You When the Rain Stops.' The entire exhibition revolves around Emiogo, Sim’s dream world best friend.

The borrowed credence from Yoruba folklore revolves around the stories of ‘rain’ and ‘fertility.’ A specific type of rain makes everything grow, with Oya, the rain-associated deity, ensuring fertility. The narratives woven into the artworks resonate with broader themes of resilience, identity, and the rich cultural heritage of the Yoruba experience. As I refine this captivating narrative, "We Came With The Last Rain" invites audiences to explore the layered storytelling, culture, and creativity defining my artistic practice.