Capturing color

Celebrating Exeter's diversity through the lens of Adedolapo Adedokun’s Senior Project, Colored Seeds.

Jennifer Wagner
June 11, 2018
Adedolapo Adedokun's senior project spotlights students of color.

Adedolapo Adedokun's senior project spotlights students of color.

Click through the gallery of portraits Dolapo Adedokun snapped for his senior photography project, Colored Seeds, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to smile. The collection of images, captured in the studio and on the Academy campus grounds, radiate pure happiness and joy. And that’s the point.

“The media tends to perpetuate derogatory and violent images of black and brown people,” Adedokun writes in his Senior Project proposal. “I want to combat stereotypes with images of positivity.”

The track team captain was one of just 12 Exonians who embarked on a Senior Project during spring term. These projects are an opportunity for students to explore areas of interest that fall outside traditional course descriptions. To be approved for such work, students undergo a rigorous vetting process, including a lengthy proposal application and departmental permissions. Those who earn the green light work independently and with the oversight of a faculty adviser. The projects culminate in public presentations of the work to peers and community members.

The spark for Adedokun's project came from the soulful songs of Solange Knowles and her album A Seat at the Table. “The album explores what it means to be black in America today,” he says. “After listening to the album, I felt a responsibility to use my privileges and resources to give a voice to students of this campus … I want to make sure that for generations, students of color feel heard and understood on this campus.”

In his artist's statement, Adekokun wrote of his project: "Colored Seeds is a project to inspire and empower students of color on this campus through vibrant, striking and positive images. I believe that showing portraits that students of color can identify with is incredibly powerful, moving, and motivational. It furthers the sense of representation and solidarity.”

Images from Colored Seeds were displayed on the walls of Lamont Gallery and in the Agora at Phelps Academy Center this spring. It is Adedokun's hope that his work will find permanent homes in the dorms and buildings on campus for years to come.

Adedolapo Adedokun '18 accepts the Yale Cup from Principal Lisa MacFarlane during commencement exercises. Adedokun will attend Yale University in the fall.