Yisa Akinbolaji’s work is in private and public collections around the world including the collections of several international diplomats.

Before immigrating to Canada in 1997, the inventive artist was recognized in the publication by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington. D.C., with inclusion in Nigerian Artists: A Who’s Who and Bibliography published in 1993. In the same year, while still in Lagos, where he has practiced and exhibited extensively, the artist began experimenting with a new technique of creating his oil and acrylic painting. Yisa was featured on the cover of Art Business News, in November 2011 for this distinctive painting technique following a successful exhibition in New York. The artist has obtained an MFA degree with distinction from the University of North Dakota in 2009. He invented a painting medium from his personal research and he is the initiator and founder of the Creative Foundation Inc. Yisa is a recipient of numerous local and international awards.

Mr. Yisa Akinbolaji, C. M. is awarded Member of the Order of Canada on November 14, 2023. Yisa an esteemed full-time experimental artist is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Yisa developed a medium, Remoglue for his unique technique of painting. He was featured in and on the cover of Art Business News, New York in 2011 after an exhibition in New York of the best international artists. Yisa is also the founder and Chairman of The Creative Foundation Inc, Winnipeg.

Yisa was appointed to the board of the Manitoba Arts Council in 2010, serving for 9 years. Yisa's painting, "Wisdom Thread" is featured in the Government of Alberta department of Education’s Curriculum, since 2021. Yisa's artistic contributions have twice made it into the Canadian Parliament’s Chamber in Ottawa: one on February 27, 2019, and the second on September 30, 2020, presented by Senator Pat Bovey. Yisa is a recipient of the Manitoba 150 Award. In 2018, Yisa received the Manitoba Premier's Volunteer Service Award. Minister Rochelle Squires recognized Yisa at the Manitoba Legislative Assembly on April 12, 2018.


Full-time interdisciplinary artist - lives and works in Winnipeg, Canada since 1997

From Lagos, Born in Ondo, Nigeria


Master of Fine Arts University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, U.S.A. (distinction) - 2009              

Advertising Art Diploma (Graphic design) Red River College, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Canada - 2000

Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria - Higher National Diploma (Major in Painting) 1986


Fine Art Instructor, Lagos State Model College, Badore, Lagos - 1988 – 1997

Adjunct lecturer, Painting & Drawing, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, Lagos - 1992 – 1996


Member of the Order of Canada awarded to Yisa Akinbolaji on November 14, 2023 for his innovations and youth mentoship.

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubille Medal awarded to Yisa Akinbolaji signed Sep. 1 (Ceremony on Dec 1)  - (2022)

Govt. of Alberta Education features Yisa Akinbolaji's painting, "Wisdom Thread" in Fine Arts Curriculum - K to Grade 6 - (2021)

HONOUR 150 - Award recognition received from Hon. Lt. Gov. Janice C. Filmon, C.M; O.M (2021 Feb. 24th)  

WAC Individual Artist Award - (2020)

A recognition at the Canadian Parliament Chamber in Ottawa on September, 30, 2020 by Hon. Senator Patricia Bovey - (2020)

A recognition at the Canadian Parliament Chamber in Ottawa on Feb, 27, 2019 by Hon. Senator Patricia Bovey - (2019)

Role Model Award to Yisa, given by the Conflict and Resilience Research Institute, Canada - (2018) November 20, 2018

Premier's Volunteer Service Award - (2018)

A recognition at the Manitoba Legislative Assembly for outstanding contributions, by Hon. Minister Rochelle Squires - (2018) On April 12, 2018

"Colour Festival" featured in the 4Oth CFM International Calendar - (2014)

Nigeria-Canada Congress of Manitoba Award - (2012)

Winnipeg Arts Council,  Professional Development Grant - (2012)

McElroy-Edwards, Jackie Scholarship, USA - (2008)

Winnipeg Arts Council Traveling Grant - (2003)

Valerie Fostey Memorial Award, Canada - (1998)

National Youth Service Chairman’s Honour, Cross River State, Nigeria - (1987)

Second runner-up National Painting Competition, organized by Mobil Producing Nigeria - (1983)


Keynote/workshop: 2nd Participatory Peace Painting at Bairdmore School by CRRIC, Canada and Rotary Club, Winnipeg.  - November 26, 2019

Coordinator and Host of the 20th Anniversary of Creative Foundation, at Holiday Inn, Winnipeg South. - September, 18, 2019

Leader and Roundtable host at the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) an initiative by Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul. -J uly 25, 2019

Growing the Value of Originality and Teamwork, Creative Foundation Inc, at Holiday In, South Winnipeg - May 11, 2017 

Appointed member of board, Manitoba Arts Council (MAC) - October 12, 2010 - 2019

Finance committee member of board, Manitoba Arts Council - October 12, 2017 - 2019  

Equity committee member of board, Manitoba Arts Council - October 12, 2010 - 2019  

MANAP committee member of board, Manitoba Arts Council - October 12, 2010 - 2017  

Art advocacy committee member of board, Manitoba Arts Council - October 12, 2010 - October 11, 2013

Advisory Board, ASPIRE to be great - April 2010 - 2013    

President, Creative Foundation Inc, Winnipeg - July 1999 - 2013    

Manitoba Arts Council Jury Member, Artist in Community Residency and the Community Connection and Access - June 9, 2010

Artist Presentation for Heartland International English School, sponsored by The Dominion Institute, Toronto - June 10, 2010

Artist Presentation for University of Manitoba International Students, sponsored by The Dominion Institute, Toronto - February 4, 2010

Professional Artist Series Workshop, Art City Inc., Winnipeg, MB - Jan. 18–22, 2010

Artist Presentation for St. James Collegiate, Winnipeg, sponsored by sponsored by The Dominion Institute, Toronto - April 21, 2008

Guest speaker at the Canadian Association of Planning Students Conference on “Cultural planning: Integrating the Everyday” - Feb. 8, 2007

Advisory/Jury member CBC ARTSPOTS, Winnipeg, Manitoba - Jan. 24, 2007

President, Manitoba Society of Artists, Winnipeg, Manitoba - 2001 - 2003

Founder and President, Creative Foundation Inc, Winnipeg, Manitoba - 1999


"Who is In and Who is Out", MHC Gallery, Winnipeg - May 3 - June 22, 2019

“My Language Space”, Gurevich Fine Art, Winnipeg - May 12 -  June 15, 2014

“From My Black-Etched Pot”, ARTIFACT Gallery, New York, NYC, USA - May 1 -  19, 2012

“Unconventional”, Gupta Centre CNIB, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - October 17 - 21, 2011

“Dignity Within” Empire Arts Center, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA - July 18 – Aug. 12, 2009

“Street Bound” Eugene Myers Art Gallery, University of North Dakota, USA - April 27 – May 1, 2009

“Peace and Purpose” Artist Gallery” 71 Elsbury Bay, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - June 23, 2007

“Dance out of Injustice” Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - April 6 – May 14, 2006  

“Scenes of Hope” Gas Station Theatre, Osborne Village, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - Nov. 2005 – Jan. 2006

“Impressions” National Museum, Onikan, Lagos, Nigeria. - Feb. 1997  

“Balanced Diet Through Colours” Chevron Nigerian Place, Victoria Island, Lagos. - Nov. 1995  

“Colours and Forms in Action” National Museum, Lagos. - May 1994  

“Norms & Forms” ARCO Petrochemical, Victoria Island, Lagos. - Nov. 1990  

“Prime Message” Western Geophysical Ltd/National Museum Onikan, Lagos, Nigeria. - Sept. – Oct. 1988  

“National Youth Service Corpers' Exhibition” University of Cross River State, Uyo, Nigeria. - May 1987  

“Direction of Perspective” Adeyemi Coll. of Education, Ondo, Ondo State, Nigeria - March 1986  

"Solution" National Museum, Onikan, Lagos, Nigeria - Sep-Oct; 1984


Canadian Black Artists United - Four Artists, One Voice, Different Experiences - June 26, 2022

Senate of Canada, Ottawa: Honouring Canada's Black Artists. - September 18, 2020 - June 30, 2021.

Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery, 20th Anniversary Exhibition. - September 28 - November 10, 2018.

Guest artist - Ottawa Artist Collective Exhibition at St. Elias Centre. - October 26 and 27, 2013.

“MSA 110th Year Juried Exhibition”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - April 07 - 22, 2012.

“Multi-Layering Experience”, Art Expo New York , Pier 94, New York - March 25 - 27, 2011.

“Multi-Layering Experience”, The Artists Project New York, Pier 92, New York - March 17 - 20, 2011.

Manitoba Juried Art Expo at Winnipeg Assiniboia Downs - November 4 - 7, 2010.

“Show Some Emotion” Sixth Street Gallery, Vancouver, WA. - Mar. 3 – Mar. 28, 2010.

“Six Artists, One Voice” Joseph D. Carrier Gallery, Toronto, ON. - Sept. 8 – Sept. 28, 2009.

“Invisible Dignity” King's University College, Edmonton, AB. - Sept. 17 – Nov. 21, 2008

Manitoba Society of Artists, Winnipeg Conservatory Exhibition, Winnipeg, MB. - Oct. 2 – Oct. 16, 2008.

Manitoba Arts and Culture Week, Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg. - March 8-May 5, 2008.

“Invisible Dignity” Mennonite Heritage Center Gallery, Winnipeg. - Sept. 22-Nov. 17, 2007.

“Invisible Dignity” John Fairbank Memorial Library, Booth College, Winnipeg, MB. - Sept. 24-Nov. 17, 2007.

“Arts Rental and Sale Juried Exhibition” Winnipeg Art Gallery - May 2007.

“Ethics & Aesthetics Series”, Salvation Army Centre, Winnipeg, MB. - March 17-April 29, 2005.

“Manitoba Society of Artists 71st Juried Art Exhibition”. - June 1 – July 31, 2003.

Nicole Gallery, Chicago. - July 18-August 23, 2003.

“Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery’s CARICOM Art Expo” - July 25-August 1, 2003.

“Why Art?” Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery, Winnipeg, MB. - June 21 – Sept. 15, 2001.

“Juried Exhibition” Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB. - April – June 2001.

“Juried Exhibition” 100th Anniversary, Manitoba Society of Artists - June – Sept. 2001.

“Fall Open Jury” Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB. - Sept. 1999.

“Diversity” Center for Intercultural Development, Red River College, Winnipeg, MB. - May 1999.

Mennonite Heritage Center Gallery, Winnipeg, MB. - Nov. – Dec. 1998.

“Fall Open Jury” Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB. - Sept. – Oct. 1998.

“Mosaic” Center for Intercultural Development, Red River College, Winnipeg, MB. - May 1998.

“Rise with the Sun” Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, Winnipeg.  - Feb. – April 1998.

“Mixed Dimension” American Embassy, Lagos, Nigeria. -June 1993.


Artist Talk - The journey to my method: curated by Mariana Muñoz Gomez for Martha Street Studio - October 17, 2020.

UNESCO school, Bairdmore Pembina Trails School, Workshop on UNESCO Peace Painting - November 26, 2019.

The intriguing effect of my flexible gum at Charleswood Art Group - February 20, 2017.

Art Talk, “Colour, Space, Time and Human Purpose”, at Grant Memorial Artist Collective - October 1, 2016.

Watercolour Workshop, at Grant Memorial Artist Collective - October 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2016.

• Abstract - Multilayering in Acrylic with Local Colour Art Group, Winnipeg - March 9 - 10, 2013.


2 longtime Winnipeg arts leaders appointed members of the Order of Canada by Ozten Shebahkeget, CBC News · Posted: Dec 29, 2023

CBC Manitoba interview by Cory Funk on the appointment of Yisa Akinbolaji's as Member of the Order of Canada - Aired 29th Dec. 2023

United in their craft, Black artists making their mark; CMHR ehibitibiton highlights diverse works ...  by Emmanuel Nwaneri - July 4, 2022

Why its important that Canada's Black artists are honoured at the heart of government, by Senator Pat Bovey. - March 4, 2022.

The Good Teacher, 9ft x 6.5ft, Commissioned piece by Providence University College & Theological Seminary - Apri 7, 2021.

Art is an Engine for Canadian Society, gallerieswest, by Senator Patricia Bovey - March 22, 2021.

Senate of Canada: A project to honour Black Canadian artists - THE SOURCE forum of diversity - pages 1 and 4 October 6 - 20, 2020.

New senate art display is the first ever to feature Black Artists, by Laura Ryckewaert, The Hill Times - September 30, 2020.

CHVN Radio, Immigration and Art in Winnipeg, by Mariel Roehr - May 6, 2019.

"Within Reach" painting for the cover of Contemporary Verse 2, Vol. 42 Issue No1 - Summer 2019.

IMAGO Arts E-Magazine and print Volume 16 Issue 2,  "Yisa Akinbolaji - Visual Artist" by Ogami - January 18, 2918.

Winnipeg Free Press, Community News, Envisioning the future with visual art by Sunday Olukoju - May 24, 2017.

CTV News Winnipeg, 6:00pm  Growing the Value of Originality and Teamwork, of Creative Foundation Inc, - May 11, 2017.

Winnipeg Free Press, Community News, "Making art brings people, cultures together" by Sunday Olukoju - November 7, 2016.

CJOB, Winnipeg by Dahlia Kurtz - May 25, 2016.

Community News Commons, Creating Harmony Through Artistic Expression by Genevie Henderson - March 24, 2016.

Winnipeg Free Press, Celebrating Yoruba art, music, storytelling by Carol Sanders - May 8, 2015.

CTV News ,Coverage of My Language Space - May 12 - 13, 2014.

page 152 - 153, Redemptive Art in Society by Dr. Calvin Seerveld - 2014.

Finding Contemporary African Art at Toronto Art Expo by Uwera - April 13, 2014.

Oh won’t you color me some Ottawa, by Samantha Ammoun, Ottawa Star Ottawa Star - Volume 1 Issue 10 page 3 - November 7, 2013.

Cover and page 30 “TOP Emerging Artists” by Jennifer M. Wood, Art Business News, New York - November/December 2011.

“Sharing the journey with Yisa Akinbolaji”, by Leigh Patterson, STYLE MANITOBA - November 22, 2011.

“Donated mosaic celebrates peace, human purpose”, by Matt Prepost, Metro, Winnipeg Free Press - October 26, 2011.

“Artist donates tactile mosaic to CNIB”, Staff Writer, Winnipeg Free Press - October 13, 2011.

“Yisa Akinbolaji: Layers Upon Layers of Paint” by Cassie Behle, Empty Easel - June 1, 2011.

“Six artists, one voice… Nigerian art thrills Toronto audience” , Guardian Newspaper - September 22, 2009.

“Art show focuses on streets” by Sara Tazel - April 28, 2009.

“Art speaks to the dignity of all” by D. Froese, Canadian Mennonite Electronic News - October 1, 2007.

CTV News by Caroline Barghout, - September 22-23, 2007.

Shaw TV Winnipeg - September 22, 2007.

“Invisible Dignity: Multimedia project combines  art, music, prayer” by Brenda Suderman, Winnipeg Free Press - September 16, 2007.

"Project gives dignity to society's "invisible" by K. Rempel, ChristianWeek Newspaper - September 1, 2007.

"Artist’s mosaic ‘stopped traffic on the street" by Martin Zeilig, Winnipeg Free Press - July 6, 2007.

“Yisa enjoys success at solo exhibition” by Beatrice Watson, Global Eyes Magazine - June 2006.

“Students learn to apply creative abilities to daily life”, Staff Writer, Winnipeg Free Press - June 01, 2006.

“Editor’s Choice” by Brad Hughes and Lindsay Duke, Winnipeg WHERE Magazine - May/June 2006.

News Now by Krista Erickson, CBC TV, reported by Barbara Brunzell - April 24, 2006.

French News reported by Louis-Philippe Ouimet, CBC Radio-Canada - April 13, 2006.

City TV Winnipeg - April 6, 2006.

“Art show offers ethical alternative”, Staff Writer, Winnipeg Free Press - May 18, 2005.

Shaw TV Winnipeg - April 13-14, 2005.

The Herald Community Newspaper, Winnipeg - March 16, 2005.

A-Channel TV Big Breakfast, Winnipeg - March 11, 2005.

"Light Talk", by Greg Musselman, - Trinity Television - Aug. 2000.

"Canada Day National News", by Krista Erickson, CBC Television - July 1999.

"Africa art serves up a sumptuous treat", by Garth Buchholz, Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg - Feb. 1998.

"Sharpening the mind through art", by Maurice Archibong, Sunday Times - June 1997.

"Creative Foundation discourse", by Steve Ayorinde, The Guardian Newspaper - June 1997.

"Yisa Akinbolaji's works mirror society", by Aloy Ibeabuchi, Lagos Weekend - July 1994.

"Model memorabilia", by Taofik Akanni, The Guardian on Sunday - April 1994.

"Seminar on creativity", by Gabriel Dike, Sunday Times - Jan. 1994.

Creative Foundation kicks off", by Awawa Bassey and Eka Ekang, Punch Newspaper - Jan. 1994.

Nigerian Artists: A Who's Who & Bibliography, by Janet L. Stanley & Bernice Kelly, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington, D.C. - 1993.

"Akinbolaji's Norms, Forms and Actions", by Aloy Ibeabuchi, Lagos Weekend - 1990.

"Creating Awareness", by Kodinlinye Obiagwu, Times International - 1990.

"A harvest of culture", by Augustine Njaogwuani, The Financial Post - 1988.

"Prime Message", by J. O. S. Edigbe, Megastar Magazine - 1988.

"What role for artists", by Bayo Onanuga, National Concord - Feb. 1985.

"The verve of a sapling", by Chuzzy Udenwa, The Guardian Newspaper - Sept. 1984.

Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, Hon. Philip S. Lee and the Nigeria High Commissioner, Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher, unveiling the mosaic, “Peace and Purpose” created by Yisa Akinbolaji.

Clint Castle, 2011 Chairman of CNIB Manitoba, speaking at Yisa’s art exhibition at Gupta Centre, Winnipeg, Canada on 17th October 2011; and Dr. N. Greco and Bonnie Taylor reflecting on Yisa Akinbolaji’s work.


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