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Oyin’s Alphabet Project Attempts to Bring Emotion to Language

The evolution of writing might be the most important aspect of the human story. Mainly because the observer, just by the virtue of observing plays the vital role of validating occurrences. Schrodinger’s cat, which is one of the longest enduring thought experiments offers some mathematical perspective to this— the cat is both dead and alive, till the box is opened, and the situation assessed.


Oyindamola Adedipe (@Easyy_ on twitter) visualizes the alphabet through a personal lens. Using a shade of Cream and Wine, he illustrates with numerous pop culture references reflective of the time. ‘P’ for Pineapple alludes to Nickolodeon’s SpongeBob Squarepants, ‘K’ for Kettle has Kendrick Lamar’s Moniker, Kung Fu Kenny heavily referenced. Q replaces the imperial Queen in a deck of 52 with pop-star Rihanna, who is nothing short of royalty herself.


On the artistic side, Oyin’s use of negative spacing drives the point further, as seen in I for Ice Cream and U for Umbrella. Clearly highlighting, through minimalist techniques how words, or even sounds intercept with pictures. But that is no surprise, since language stemmed from our continuous need to properly reconcile the world within, and without for other people to identify with.


After the collapse of the bronze age, which led to the erasure of the written word and inadvertently, a few centuries of darkness where humans had to discover, and learn to be literate again. The Egyptian hieroglyphs served as a bedrock for communication. This form of language was rudimentary, where certain objects are drawn, and matched together to create coherent information, most times for record keeping.


The deconstruction of language into phonemes, by the Phoenicians further made it accessible to a wider demography. And the eventual attachment of a letter to every sound in a given language hacked the science of the written word as we know today. It made it possible to create a written format for any language, as long as it is generally spoken and understood (syntax being another issue on its own). Little wonder why the word ‘Alphabet’ is a portmanteau of the first two letters of the Geek arrangement (Alpha + Beta).


But that was centuries ago, language today has become a lot more diverse and we have grown to imbibe visuals to our speech. Internet phenomena, such as memes, gifs, smileys, stickers etc give extra leeway for human expression. Further widening our vocabulary and in so doing, expanding our capacity for emotion.


This is exactly what separates this Alphabet project from the one taught in schools, Oyin infuses a bit of realism, almost pessimism in his alphabets. The egg cracks, the gun is rightfully complemented with a splat of blood, House is a building complex that portrays different human dynamics—highlighting companionship for some, loneliness for others and even, the empty apartment whilst a stray cat wanders the exterior, the scissors bleeds after it cuts and blood drenched tears accompany ‘W’ for Woman.


As the aesthetics are deservedly appreciated, it should not be forgone that Oyindamola’s Alphabet Project is an immersive spectacle of emotion.



Writer: Oyedele Alokan