Yisa Akinbolaji has developed his own technique in art, therefore his own language. Following the successful exhibition of his work in New York, the artist was in 2011 featured on the cover of Art Business News, New York. Yisa’s work has also been published in Redemptive Art In Society, by American author and poet, Dr. Calvin Seerveld. “Though I’m a painter, I do not just paint; I create with paint. Once I start creating, one element of my composition leads to another.” says the artist. Yisa’s innovative technique has also inspired new painting medium for professional artists, Remoglue, a short form of removable glue.

In his paintings, Akinbolaji explores and uncovers the possibilities of his creative expression. Combining various art expertise and endeavors; from metal sculpture creation, installations, oil and acrylic painting to printmaking he is able to express a full range of experiences in one piece. Akinbolaji’s Yoruba-African root experience and Western education dominate the eclecticism and diversity of his technique.

For more than three decades, the artist has engaged in extensive art practice, working in a variety of media: (mixed media, oil, acrylic, installation, metal sculpture  and printmaking) and exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions in public galleries and museums in Canada, the United States and Nigeria. Yisa’s work is in private and public collections around the world including the collection of  the University of North Dakota, the province of Manitoba, Great-West Life, Cargill Limited, and the private collections of valued individuals.

Before immigrating to Canada in 1997, Yisa was recognized with his inclusion in Nigerian Artists: A Who‘s Who and Bibliography (1993) compiled and edited by Bernice Kelly and Janet L. Stanley for the publication of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington. D.C. It was in 1993 that Yisa began to experiment in a new technique of painting after many years of creating his work in the style of the impressionists. Yisa further developed his technique while obtaining M.F.A in visual arts from the University of North Dakota. There, he incorporated his unique technique into his monotype printmaking. His technique involves the use of resist and relief, a process that best expresses his creative spirit and fuses the elements of Western and African art education and traditions.

Yisa also the founder of Creative Foundation Inc. 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. On October 12, 2010, he was appointed to the board of the Manitoba Arts Council by the Manitoban Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism and with two re-appointments to serve till 2018.

Yisa has been an advisory member of CBC ARTSPOTS, Winnipeg on January 24, 2007; a guest speaker at the Canadian Association of Planning Students Annual Conference at the University of Manitoba, February 8, 2007, On November 20, 2018, Yisa was recognized as the Chief Guest by the Conflict and Resilience Research Institute, Canada at the occasion of "Participatory Peace Painting Icebreaker." Yisa is a regular guest presenter at Heartland International English School and has facilitated empowering workshops at various high schools and youth summer camps in Winnipeg. Yisa is the founder of the Creative Foundation Inc, Winnipeg. www.creativefoundation.org

Yisa’s art has been exhibited internationally.

Yisa has received the following awards: the McElroy-Edwards, Jackie Scholarship, USA (2008); the Winnipeg Arts Council Traveling Grant (2003); the Valerie Fostey Memorial Award, Canada (1998); and the National Youth Service Chairman's Honour, Cross River State, Nigeria (1987).

Artist Statement:

The process is the benefit of many years of experience. As a painter, I do not just paint; I create using paint. Once I start creating, one element of my composition leads to another. The freedom I experience through my freehand form creation and colour mixture is where the fun begins. Using layers upon layers of paint with flexible gum, a substance inspired by my technique allows me to engage the viewers in the upside down thinking process and discourse relating to each work

Yisa's ultimate goal has been to establish an identity that would be recognized by art lovers internationally. That identity would include the distinctiveness of his style. This gallery presents the talent and inventiveness of the artist. His work is today in private and public collections around the world.

CREDITS: Photography: Taylor Summach, Gordon Gilbey, Gloria Esquejo, Velma Rust

Videography: Keanan Byggdin

Yisa Akinbolaji presenting his speech at the MCIE celebration at the Legislative Building, Winnipeg, 2012

Yisa Akinbolaji (Center) at the MCIE celebration at the Legislative Building, Winnipeg, 2012.



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