YISA AKINBOLAJI
Artist Statement:My art is inspired by my experiences but mostly by imagination. Once I start creating, one element of myc...
YISA AKINBOLAJIFrom My Black-Etched Pot
2 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 3The Visual Worlds of Yisa Akinbol...
4 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 5Excellency, 2011, acrylic and mix...
6 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 7Changing Lane, 2011, acrylic and ...
8 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 9Empire, 2011, acrylic and mixed-m...
10 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 11Freedom Generation, 2011, acryl...
12 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 13The Blue Circles, 2011, acrylic...
14 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 15Where We Have Not Visited, 2010...
EDUCATION2009 - University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, U.S.A. -MFA (with distinction)Advertising Art (Grap...
This catalog has been published in conjunction with the exhibition Yisa Akinbolaji: From My Black-Etched Pot, May 1 - 19, ...
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African artist, Yisa Akinbolaji

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The process of this painting is where my interest most lies. This process involves upside down thinking. I have combined my skills in my various art practises to achieve the result established in the concept and composition. I also want to engage the viewers in the artistic process and for viewers to experience my freehand and new approach to two-dimensional art form.

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African artist, Yisa Akinbolaji

  1. 1. YISA AKINBOLAJI
  2. 2. Artist Statement:My art is inspired by my experiences but mostly by imagination. Once I start creating, one element of mycomposition leads to another. In my technique, I reveal the hidden colors and forms that lie beneath thecovering layers of paint.About the Artist:Before immigrating to Canada in 1997, Yisa Akinbolaji was recognized as a leading Nigerian artist with his work andbiography included in "Nigerian Artists: A Who’s Who and Bibliography" (1993) compiled and edited by Bernice Kelly andJanet L. Stanley of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington. D.C.Yisa Akinbolaji was elected to the membership of Manitoba Society of Artists in 2000, becoming its President in 2001 atthe 100th Anniversary and serving until 2003. On October 12, 2010, the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism,Manitoba appointed Yisa Akinbolaji to the board of the Manitoba Arts Council.Between 1988 and 1997, Yisa taught Fine Art at the Lagos State Model College, Badore. In 1988 and 1989 he wasadjunct Drawing and Painting Instructor at the Lagos State College of Education, now (Adeniran Ogunsanya College ofEducation), Oto-Ijanikin.Yisa’s art career began in Lagos, Nigeria, where he studied Fine Arts at the Yaba College of Technology, majoring in,painting in 1986. For more than two decades, the artist have engaged in extensive art practice: working in a variety ofmedia (mixed media, oil, acrylic, mosaic installation and printmaking) and exhibiting in solo and group art exhibitions inpublic galleries and museums in Canada, the United States, and Nigeria.In 1993, Yisa began to explore a new painting technique. This technique he further developed while obtaining hisM.F.A. in Visual Arts from the University of North Dakota. At UND, he studied under the supervision of Prof. Arthur Jones(Chair), Prof. Kim Fink and Prof. Emeritus Brian Paulsen.
  3. 3. YISA AKINBOLAJIFrom My Black-Etched Pot
  4. 4. 2 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 3The Visual Worlds of Yisa Akinbolajiby John AustinTo see the world through Yisa Akinbolaji’s sensibility is to see it particularized through an array of emotions articulated in a play of light, color and form.What we draw out of the artist’s visual realizations is the notion of correspondence in which an expressive transformation is allowed to occur. What HenryJames nobly called the “stream of consciousness” to allude to a series of mental states, transient events which are either successive or may overlap orare simultaneous. The constant shifting in the intensities of such dispositions underlies the dramatic tensions in his paintings. Each work, realized withpsychic or spiritual.Ex ellency, for example, serves as a perfect introduction to the artist’s vision. It is made in accordance with his fascinating signature technique utilizingacrylic and mixed media on board. The primary drama here consists in the oscillation between a light colored hovering form which serves as the centerof the painting and the contrasting energy knitted patterns which act as both a “birthing” place and “berthing” area. By this gentle play of words I mean toallude to Akinbolaji’s deft compositional technique of punctuating space with areas which have a liminal hold on the imagination. These areas are stronglysuggestive because of their ambiguousness: they lock and envelop interior forms while simultaneously acting as a nesting area for those interiorized areasapart from external circumstances yet somehow bound up and in sharp opposition to its host.This interplay of oppositional, yet strangely symbiotic relations between foregrounded forms and midground ones continues in other works. The overallfeeling tone is that of solemnity suffused with inner radiance. The artist nearly emblematizes the notion of the uncovering of the self. He does this with nohistrionics of any kind; instead his pictorial surface seems cubistically derived. Worlds of different orders, those of the real, the imaginary and the symbolicseem to alternate and shift their positions in order to unveil hidden worlds which lie within the veil of illusion which has been thrust aside at the right.capacity to regulate the forms and compositions in his paintings so as to inspire a quality of “lived presence” that permeates his work. The second is theauthoritative character is the evident conjunction of opposites which is allowed to become manifest.The artist makes evident use of a process of automatism which is then superimposed with a set of conscious delineations which complete each work inorder to make paintings that contain (seemingly) opposite energies, which, once combined, produce remarkably individuated images. What becomesabundantly clear in looking, as a whole, on Yisa Akinbolaji’s artworks, is the artist’s indispensable capacity to attain a certain emotional involvement. Theseenlarging the scope of his authenticating journey into creativity, Akinbolaji’s abstraction grapples with divided loyalties. Stylistically speaking, Andre Gide’sdictum “the struggle between classicism and romanticism takes place within every mind…” also helps us to understand the artist’s keen gamesmanship.The result is visual traces of integrative wholeness that are nothing short of inspiring and nothing less than beautiful to behold.John Austin is an art writer based in Manhattan.Color Festival, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 20” x 20”
  5. 5. 4 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 5Excellency, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on board, 24” x 24”Ambition, 2010, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 36” x 36
  6. 6. 6 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 7Changing Lane, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 40” x 40” The Merge of Two Communities, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 24” x
  7. 7. 8 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 9Empire, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on , 30” x 30”With All Pleasure, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on board, 24” x 24”
  8. 8. 10 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 11Freedom Generation, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 30” x 30” A Piece of The Chief ’s Garment, 2012, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 20” x 2
  9. 9. 12 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 13The Blue Circles, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 36” x 12” Red Wine, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 36” x 12”Energy Released, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 36” x 12” In Motion, 2010, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 36”
  10. 10. 14 | Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot Yisa Akinbolaji From My Black-Etched Pot | 15Where We Have Not Visited, 2010, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 20” x 20” Milestones, 2011, acrylic and mixed-media on canvas, 16”
  11. 11. EDUCATION2009 - University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, U.S.A. -MFA (with distinction)Advertising Art (Graphic design) Diploma(BFA equivalent) - Major in PaintingSOLO EXHIBITIONS580 8th Avenue, New York, New York.Grand Forks, North Dakota.April 27 – May 1, 2009, “Street Bound” Eugene Myers Art Gallery,University of North Dakota.June 23, 2007, “Peace and Purpose ” Yisa Gallery, 71 Elsbury Bay, Winnipeg, MB.April 6 – May 14, 2006, “Dance out of Injustice”Nov. 2005 – Jan. 2006, “Scenes of Hope” Gas Station Theatre,Osborne Village, Winnipeg.Ondo, Ondo State, Nigeria.Ondo, Ondo State, NigeriaSELECTED GROUP JURIED EXHIBITIONSNew York, Pier 92.Nov. 4 - 7, 2010, Manitoba Juried Art Expo at Winnipeg Assiniboia DownsMar. 3 – Mar. 28, 2010, “Show Some Emotion” Sixth Street Gallery, Vancouver, WA.Sept. 8 – Sept. 28, 2009, “Six Artists, One Voice” Joseph D.Oct. 2 – Oct. 16, 2008, Manitoba Society of Artists,Winnipeg.Winnipeg, MB.June 1 – July 31, 2003, “Manitoba Society of Artists 71st Juried Art Exhibition”.June 21 – Sept. 15, 2001, “Why Art?”April – June 2001, “Juried Exhibition” Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB.June – Sept. 2001, “Juried Exhibition” 100th Anniversary, Manitoba Society of ArtistsSept. 1999, “Fall Open Jury” Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB.Winnipeg, MB.Sept. – Oct. 1998, “Fall Open Jury” Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB.Winnipeg, MB.Winnipeg.PUBLICATIONSM. Wood, Art Business News, New York.October 26, 2011, “Donated mosaic celebrates peace, human purpose”, by MattPrepost, Metro, Winnipeg Free Press.Empty Easel.September 22, 2009 - “Six artists, one voice… Nigerian art thrills Toronto audience” ,Guardian Newspaper.October 1, 2007“Art speaks to the dignity of all” by D. Froese,September 22, 2007, Shaw TV WinnipegSeptember 16, 2007, “Invisible Dignity: Multimedia project combines art, music,prayer” by Brenda Suderman, Winnipeg Free Press.Winnipeg Free PressJune 2006, “Yisa enjoys success at solo exhibition” by Beatrice Watson,Global Eyes MagazineJune 01, 2005, “Students learn to apply creative abilities to daily life”, Staff Writer,Winnipeg Free PressMay 18, 2005, “Art show offers ethical alternative”, Staff Writer, Winnipeg Free PressApril 13-14, 2005, Shaw TV News, WinnipegFeb. 1998, “Africa art serves up a sumptuous treat”, by Garth Buchholz,Winnipeg Free PressJune 1997, Sunday Times, “Sharpening the mind through art”, by Maurice ArchibongThe Guardian NewspaperJuly 1994, “Yisa Akinbolaji’s works mirror society”, by Aloy Ibeabuchi,Jan. 1994, “Seminar on creativity”, by Gabriel Dike, Sunday TimesPunch Newspaper1988, “A harvest of culture”, by Augustine Njaogwuani, The Financial Post1988, “Prime Message”, by J. O. S. Edigbe, Megastar MagazineAFFILIATIONS2001 – Present Manitoba Society of Artists (MSA) Member and Past President2005 – Present Member, Manitoba Printmakers’ AssociationAbout the Artist:Nigerian artist with his work and biography included in Nigerian Artists: A Who’s WhoYisa Akinbolaji was elected to the membership of Manitoba Society of Artists in 2000,becoming its President in 2001 at the 100th Anniversary and serving until 2003. Onartist have engaged in extensive art practice: working in a variety of media (mixedmedia, oil, acrylic, mosaic installation and printmaking) and exhibiting in solo andand Nigeria.Badore. In 1988 and 1989 he was adjunct Drawing and Painting Instructor at theOto-Ijanikin.In 1993, Yisa began to explore a new painting technique. This technique he furtherdeveloped while obtaining his M.F.A. in Visual Arts from the University of NorthProfessor Kim Fink and Professor Emeritus Brian Paulsen.
  12. 12. This catalog has been published in conjunction with the exhibition Yisa Akinbolaji: From My Black-Etched Pot, May 1 - 19, 2012.All rights reserved. No part of this catalogue may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic and mechanical means, includinginformation storage or retrieval systems, in part or in whole, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer whomay quote passages in a review.Design: Artelligent Graphics580 Eighth AvenueNew York, NY 10018212.354.2999info@newartcenter

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