Extensive visual art plagiarism exposed:

Through one of Yisa Akinbolaji's patrons who traveled on vacation to Kenya from North America in January 2019 and visited Nairobi National Museum, it was discovered that his painting, "Alliance" which has been plagiarized by Usuf Dsali was on display as "Flow of Knowledge". The fake painting by Usuf was priced for 180,000 Kenya shillings. The title was adapted from another original painting of Yisa's which Uusuf also plagiarized. The original is "Knowledge Flows1" and owned by another collector of Yisa's who is based in Ottawa, Canada. Photo of both paintings and many more are shown below. In many cases, Usuf reproduced each painting he plagiarized a multiple times with no permission or credit given to Yisa who is the original artist. Using a fellow artist's technique is not the same as illegally reproducing his/her work. Reproducing an artist's work without permission is known as plagiarism and it is fraudulent.

As if that's not bad enough, we have found out that not only did Usuf plagiarized more than 20 works that Yisa originally created, Yisa's artist statement was entirely plagiarized and his biography heavily adapted. It has further been discovered that several paintings which have been illegally plagiarized by Usuf have been exhibited at a few galleries in Africa and USA. Some of the plagiarized works by Usuf are shown on this page.  Also showing below is Usuff's documented Facebook page. As at Monday February 4, 2019 the page indicates that Usuf lives in San Francisco, California. There is also an indication that he studied at Makerere University, Uganda. As a bachelor's degree graduate of Engineering and Technology, Usuf who claims in his online documentation that he specialized in Industrial Art and Design at Makerere University in Kampala, could not be ignorant of the consequence of plagiarism.

Makerere University and galleries where Usuf is known to have exhibited are now being alerted so that this proven misconduct can be investigated. Action is also being taken to expose galleries that are exhibiting Usuf's fake art. We are making every effort to locate individuals that have purchased works that have been plagiarized by Usuf, whether the plagiarized works are that of Yisa or another established artist. Credible art organizations and collectives in North America and Africa are also being notified. Art critiques are being encouraged to expose ruinous plagiarism. The images of plagiarized art on this page are just few of the samples we have discovered and investigated. What is very strange is the massive volume of work Usuf copied from Yisa alone. It is not flattering to plagiarize this amount of work from one artist.  

The cover photo which Usuf Dsali prides himself on his Facebook page is another plagiarized copy of Yisa's original work. We anticipate that Usuf would change that cover photo once he has received words that his plagiarism has been discovered.

Oxford English Dictionary defines plagiarism as the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own. Another version explains it as an act of stealing once one has copied someone else's art without permission and/or proper credit. Even mere using of filter, changing of colour, and adding clip art or text are unacceptable and unethical.

Art theft as defined by deviantdotcom is the "obvious" stealing of artwork and making it one's own masterpiece. Without seeking consent from or giving credit to the source, the act is an indirect claim or ownership of the stolen piece. Art theft isn't limited to simple posting of an unreferenced artwork. Enhancing the material to make it look different is also an act of plagiarism. This is exactly what Usuf has done and more investigations are ongoing. Thanks to the patron and the valued colleague who brought the plagiarism directly to the attention of Yisa.

Published by Yisa Gallery - Monday February 4, 2019.


1. On the 11th of February 2019, the Curator of Contemporary Art at Nairobi National Museum confirmed that the institution has conducted independent investigations and Usuf 's paintings have immediately been removed from their walls. They have also sent communications to their networks in Nairobi to warn them of Usuf's plagiarism.

2. On the 10th of February, a notice was received from Oakland Art Murmur that the organization will remove Usuf's profile from the organization's website.

PLAGIARIZED (by Usuf Dsali here on the left)


ORIGINAL (by Yisa on the right)

On the left below are the number of works that were plagiarized by Usuf Dsali without any credit, the consent of, or permission from the original artist, Yisa Akinbolaji. On the right are some of the original works as created by Yisa.  A few images below are from Yisa's exhibition booklet.



P A I N T I N G    -   P R I N T M A K I N G   -   I N S TA L L A T I O N S

Published by Yisa Gallery Team - Monday February 4, 2019.