Hello, my name is Tobi Ajayi and I am so excited to serve as a PAA and be a resource for you all! I am an Architecture major pursuing certificates in Visual Arts and Environmental Studies. I knew I was going to major in Architecture before I came to Princeton, but I have always been eager to incorporate Visual Arts into my curriculum as well. Although I did not know what that would look like. My artwork usually explores themes of home, circulation, and networked identities. I am deeply committed to the idea of art as propaganda, always advocating for an idea or perceived truth. My VIS work compliments my major as it offers a fresh set of challenges to engage with. I enjoy creating art that is informed by self-imposed parameters, as well as art that is constrained by more universal limitations, as I often have to do in the Architecture department. It’s a lot of work and time spent thinking, but I love every minute of it.
For my A-levels, which are national qualifications you do before you graduate, I studied Fine Art. We were lucky enough to have a whole building dedicated to Art and Textiles, and there, I was first introduced to the collaborative and immersive studio environment that I love so much. When I first came to Princeton, I struggled to get into VIS classes and so during my first year, I felt a big part of my academic interests were lost. By sophomore year I was much more intentional about getting into VIS classes and engaging with the department, which is something I am very grateful for. I value everything my VIS professors have taught me, and their insight has helped me continue to refine my artist's voice. The professors encourage you to make work that is meaningful to you, regardless of what that might be. It’s an environment that is really refreshing (yet equally as challenging), especially amidst other academic spheres at Princeton.
Outside of academics, I am a member of the Black Arts Company, a tour guide (and intern) at the Art Museum, and a co-leader for the Learning Enrichment in the Arts Program. Pursuing arts-related issues outside of the department is also something I am passionate about. If you want to chat about this, balancing workloads, what VIS might look like to you, or anything, please do not hesitate to reach out. As a black international student on campus, if you need any guidance from this perspective as well, I am happy to help. I would love to discuss how issues of identity might relate to your art practice, as they do mine.