We know that a boisterous laugh and a wide smile can take over a room, but it is hard to imagine how a slight grin and chuckle can fill a space infinitely larger. Our friend Yemi filled that space.
Omayemi “Yemi” Amorighoye, a communication and new media major with a minor in English, died in Washington County, Md., on Oct. 31, 2013. He was 23 years old. This shocking loss has stopped time for many of us.
His filmmaking earned him a distinguished place in the department of communication and new media, valued by faculty and students alike for the breadth and inventiveness of his prolific video work and its experimental character.
Directing, producing and acting under the nom de plume Yemi Amor, his films included:
Fusion, an abstract video collage, which creatively experimented with the synchronization of moving images and sound
Direction, a structural psychodrama that explored an abstract interpretation of society’s cultural progressions and digressions
Smith and The Fox Gloves Live, a concert film shot at the Blue Moon Saloon Café
Big Brothaz on the Court, a public service announcement confronting bullying and guns
Drinking Alone by Moonlight, a short film based on a poem by Li Po, Chinese poet of the mid-Tang Dynasty
Under The Covers, a narrative short about a young man named Coby who struggles to move on with his life after a painful breakup
Mood Swings, a psychodramatic abstract expression of the cycle of human emotions
It gradually became evident to us that beyond the sheer profusion of his video creation, Yemi chose to explore media arts with a love of inventiveness and a deeply personal vision. Influenced by the experimental films of Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger, Yemi’s films instantly gained the immense respect of faculty and students.
“Yemi was always stopping by to borrow every piece of equipment imaginable and to pitch courageous and novel concepts. He had an insatiable drive to give voice to some magical muse through his video art and his ambition was clearly magnetic and irresistible to every student he encountered.” – Associate Professor Jason McKahan
“Yemi was a gentle and steadfast presence in the department, always willing to help a fellow student with a difficult edit or brighten an office door with a simple wave. A consummate craftsman, Yemi reworked and polished projects long after they had received an ‘A.’ He revealed profound beauty in the world through his immeasurable talent and personal grace.” – Assistant Professor Monica Larson
“We were lucky to have spent time with him and have him let us into his world. Conversations with Yemi always included a smile and some laughter. His grin often said more than the obvious; it was also approval, disapproval, understanding, skepticism and joy.” – WSHC Chief Operating Officer Todd Cotgreave
“Yemi was one of those rare persons who created more than he consumed. In an age of conspicuous consumption, at least one of us was concerned with making things—brilliant things, films. He spent his time wisely, creating these things that when taken together build a better society but when taken away leave us hollow and wanting. Yemi was a seeker in the realms of arts and humanities, civics, history and other fields political and aesthetic. He’s the guy you want to work with. He’s the guy whose opinion you ask.” – Department Chair Kevin Williams
Yemi’s gracious personality and irreverent sense of humor made it an absolute joy to work with him. In the classroom, he was persistently engaged and often went out of his way to help classmates with their projects. His pseudonym “Amor” reflects the immense love and compassion that he expressed every day to those in his life.
Yemi Amor made an inestimable impact in our lives and certainly will remain in our hearts forever.
Department of Communication Faculty and Staff