Olalekan Odunbori was born in Ota, Ogun State in Nigeria in 1989. When he was 10, he discovered his passion for drawing and ever since then, has been practicing art. While growing up, he was exposed to art that was rooted in the cultural festivals of his hometown. The Egungun festival was one of them and he was most fascinated by the detailing on the different paintings of masquerades done at the entrance of each participating family house. Also, the Egungun head-dress and the patterns on the flamboyant costumes worn by the masquerades inspired him. Olalekan’s current style can be described as ‘semi-abstract art’; drawing on the cubism movement. Olalekan holds a Higher National Diploma in Painting from Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.
Olalekan is predominantly inspired by Yoruba culture and the ills of the society. He is from the Yoruba ethnic group in Nigeria and believes his mother’s tongue (Yoruba language) deserves more recognition in his society. This stems from what he has come to understand as his people’s desperate desire to communicate in another man’s language – English, thereby not being confident in speaking the language anymore. The morals and the dressing of the Yoruba ethnic group also inspire his work. He uses his work to address the issues bordering on socioeconomic segregation; he opines that the only way his community can move forward is when the different levels of social classes coexist. Another aspect that his works focus on is family. The bond between a child and his/her parents has an immense impact on the future of the child because, parents are supposed to be role models to their children.
He wants to use his art as a means of uniting people of different social classes in the society. He wants it to spark discussion between them on issues affecting us as a people and help suggest solutions to these problems. He also believes that Art is a tool for correcting the wrongs of the society and artists are prophets sent from God to the masses. He currently lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.
- Nigerian Undergraduates’ Exhibition Of Arts, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, 2012.
- Yaba College Of Technology Fine Art Department Final Year Art Exhibition, Yaba, Lagos, 2012.
- Lasgidi Cultural Arts Exhibition, Freedom Park, Lagos, 2012.
- Lasgidi Cutural Arts Exhibition, Freedom Park, Lagos, 2015.
- Society Of Nigerian Artists (SNA) October Rain Art Exhibition, Thought Pyramid Gallery, Ikoyi Lagos, 2018.
- Lagos State Council For Arts And Culture, Bridging The Cultural Divide, Ikeja Lagos, 2019.
- Hearty Art Club Art Exhibition, Health Club, Ocean Parade, Banana Island Lagos, 2019.
- Miniature Art fair, Mega Plaza Car Park, Lagos, 2019.