Category Archives: Tunde Folawiyo – Leader in Education

Abdoulaye Konaté: one of Africa’s finest artists

Art enthusiasts such as Tunde Folawiyo will be familiar with the work of African artist, Abdoulaye Konaté. Born in DIré, Mali in 1953, Konaté studied painting in Mali’s capital, Bamako, followed by seven years’ study in Havana, Cuba. He later combined his talent for painting with installation work, composing powerful commentaries on environmental and political affairs. Abdoulaye Konaté’s work is popular the world over with African art collectors such as Tunde Folawiyo (the Tunde Folawiyo information page provides further reading on this African philanthropist and businessman).

When canvas and paint were unavailable to him, Konaté began working with Malian cloth. The large scale of his pieces mean that not only does Konaté support his local economy by using textiles manufactured in Mali, but he continues a long West African tradition of using textiles to communicate and commemorate. Konaté’s work is a social commentary fusing current day politics with traditional craftsmanship. Though his work explores weighty topics affecting Africa today, the overriding message in his art work is one of hope.

This award winning artist has returned to Mali, and lives and works in his home city of Bamako once more. In 1993, Konaté was appointed Director of Bamako’s Palais de la Culture, and is now the Director of the Conservatoire for Arts and Media in Bamako.

Konaté has covered many grave topics in his work, including the effect of AIDS in Africa, both to individuals and society as a whole. 75,000,000 people in Africa have contracted the illness, and more than 1,000,000 children and adults die from AIDS/HIV every year. The virus has had a devastating effect on Africa’s population. As an African artist and social commentator, it is easy to understand why Konaté feels compelled to examine the subject.

Tunde FolawiyoAnother plight close to Konaté’s heart is the desertification of The Sahel in West Africa. The dry lands are inhabited by a staggering 25% of the world’s population who depend upon the area for their livelihood. The vegetated areas are rich in species such as gazelles and desert partridges. Where the area is rich in vegetation, little soil erosion occurs. However, where deforestation and decimation of the vegetation has occurred, soil is quickly eroded by desert winds, meaning that The Sahel is rapidly shrinking. With so many people reliant on the area for food, not to mention the catastrophic effect losing The Sahel would have on the ecosystem of Africa as a whole, it is easy to understand why Konaté is so passionate about saving it.


The life of Sudanese artist Ibrahim Salahi

Born in Omdurman in 1930, Salahi attended the Gordon Memorial College’s School of Design in Khartoum; by the time he graduated, he had mastered both perspective techniques and figure drawing, and had learned a great deal about the history of art in the Western world. Following the completion of his degree, he moved to London, in order to study at the Slade School of Fine Art. It was here that he became familiar with Western modernism. At the age of 27, Salahi decided to return to Khartoum, in order to work as a teacher at his old art school.

In 1975, he became a political prisoner, and was incarcerated in Sudan for one year; whilst this was a devastating experience, Salahi has said that he learned a great deal from it. Shortly after his release, he left his homeland, and after a brief period in Qatar, ended up moving to the UK, where he has remained ever since.

Tunde FolawiyoNow in his eighties, he has continued to paint and exhibit his work. Art enthusiasts like Tunde Folawiyo might remember that his most notable exhibition in recent years was held at the Tate Modern; entitled ‘Ibrahim Salahi: A Visionary Modernist’, it was the first ever retrospective of an African Artist in this gallery. Exploring the idea of African Modernism, the display featured 100 of Salahi’s pieces, most of which were created during the last five decades. The exhibition offered visitors insight into his artistic evolution, showing them how he developed a style which so masterfully combines Western, Arab, African and Islamic art techniques.

Throughout his career, Salahi has had his work included in a number of major exhibitions, and many of his paintings are now on display in several public spaces, including the National Gallery of Victoria, Hampton University Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of African Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. Salahi has also been the recipient of honours such as the 2001 Prince Clause Award and the 1964 Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship.

Folawiyo has been a collector of art for some time now. Information about Tunde Folawiyo’s interest in art is available online.

A bio of the Nigerian artist Yusuf Grillo

Tunde FolawiyoYusuf Grillo is one of Nigeria’s most renowned painters; he is someone that most art lovers, including Tunde Folawiyo, will have heard of. He is famed for the inventiveness of his work, as well as his preference for the colour blue, which features heavily in almost all of his paintings. Grillo sources his inspiration from the actions and behaviour of humankind, but is particularly intrigued by Yoruba culture, and much of his artwork tends to merge western and Yoruba art techniques.

Raised in Lagos, Grillo received both a Fine Arts diploma, and a postgraduate education diploma from the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology. In 1966, he moved to England to attend Cambridge University, after which he spent several years travelling around the USA and Germany. He eventually returned home, after he was appointed as the Head of Yaba College’s Department of Art and Printing. He retained this role for over 25 years, during which time he continued to paint, exhibit, and serve as the president of the SNA (Society of Nigerian Artists).

Although he has never been the most prolific of painters, the quality of the work which he has produced over the course of his career has led to Grillo being named as one of the most important artists in Nigeria. Grillo himself has acknowledged that it can often take him several months, or in some cases, even several years, to complete a painting. With this being said, he has, over the past few decades, produced a few hundred pieces of art, including not only portraits, but also statues and monuments.

Those who are familiar with his work, such as Tunde Folawiyo, may know that Grillo has expressed an aversion to photo-realism; rather than aiming for lifelike creations, he instead prefers to elongate and stylise the figures. This technique, which produces graceful, elegant human-like forms, makes his work instantly recognisable. His choice of colour tones and his compositional decisions have been praised by many, including Kunle Filani, a well-known art critic. In an essay about this artist, Filani noted that whilst many have attempted to mimic Grillo’s style in their own work, none have managed to achieve the same skilful combination of complimentary hues and perfect spatial balance.

For those highly interested in the work of many other African artists, find out more at the Tunde Folawiyo African art blog.

Tunde Folawiyo | African Art: The Works of Ephrem Kouakou

As one of the African continent’s foremost painters, the works of Ephrem Kouakou have been displayed throughout the globe, eliciting great praise from fans and critics alike. The artist’s powerful paintings continue to inspire varied cultures throughout Africa and the world as a whole. Brilliantly combining folk motifs, African visuals and Western creative techniques, Kouakou remains a revered figure within the African art community as his works. Tunde Folawiyonominated-as-2010-best-african-entrepreneur-6839/”>Tunde Folawiyo and other collectors of African art may find the works of Ephrem Kouakou to be some of the most significant paintings in existence today.

Born in Africa’s Ivory Coast in 1962, Kouakou is part of the Akan people’s Baoule group. Whilst he initially trained to practice medicine, he participated in a variety of initiation rites that would later prove a significant source of inspiration for his work today. At age 17, Kouakou trekked more than 2500 miles to Algeria from his home in the Ivory Coast. After the three month journey, he embarked on a voyage to France. Here, he studied at some of the country’s finest art institutions, paving the way for a highly successful career as one of Africa’s most popular painters.

With a wide variety of works of art portrayed on both paper and canvas, Kouakou’s creations are admired today for their bold, saturated colors, made by combing raw pigments with glue. His work revolves around themes centered by fertility masks, animal guides, protective spirits and intense spiritual reflection, inspirations that may be recognised by Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout Africa.

Kouakou’s work is amongst a genre thriving in growing popularity. Contemporary African art has experienced a significant boost in sales in recent years, with art enthusiasts around the globe eager to own pieces of this fine art. Kouakou’s work can be found in a variety of high-profile museums throughout the United States and beyond. France, Switzerland and Belgium are amongst the wide array of countries that have showcased the work of Kouakou and other African artists. From New York’s Metropolitan Museum to The Smithsonian’s African Art museum, the world-renowned works of Kouakou may continue to be admired for years to come. His work is represented today by Ellicott City’s Still Life Fine Art Gallery. Residing in the US since 1990, Kouakou has lived in Washington DC, New York while his current residence is located in Baltimore. Tunde Folawiyo and other collectors of African art can visit these revered museums to catch a glimpse of the outstanding talent displayed by Kouakou.

Tunde Folawiyo | The Famed Works of Sokari Douglas Camp

As the world of African art continues to grow in popularity, the genre’s most famed artists continue to pave the way for an exciting new onslaught of talent. Sokari Douglas Camp is one such artist whose talents are acclaimed worldwide, forging an impact on the world’s view of contemporary African art. Collectors of fine African art, including Tunde Folawiyo, may continue to praise the creative works of Sokari Douglas Camp as some of the most significant in the rich history of the genre.

Born in the Kalabari town of Buguma in the Niger Delta, Camp was raised by her brother-in-law anthropologist Robin Horton. Studying art at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, Camp earned a BA degree from Central School of Art and Design in London in 1983 before ultimately acquiring an MA from Royal College of Art during 1986. Her years of advanced schooling and close ties to the continent of Africa would later contribute to her world-renowned popularity.

 Tunde FolawiyoPredominately sculpted from materials like steel, Camp’s creative works take much inspiration from the cultures of Africa and her own rich Kalabari heritage. With works appearing in the permanent collections of both the British Museum and the Smithsonian, Camp’s widespread influence is internationally recognised. Her sculptures have appeared in many countries, including Cuba, France, Japan, Germany, South Africa, Austria and the USA. Spirits in Steel — The Art of the Kalabari Masquerade remains one of her most notable exhibits and is currently housed in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. During 2005, as part of the Africa 05 Festival, Camp teamed with Ground Force to create art for Africa Garden at British Museum. With her global reach spanning thousands of miles, the impact Camp’s art has forged upon the masses has, for many, awakened a newfound fascination in the powerful portrayals of African art.

Throughout her successful career, Camp has received many honours and various commissions for her public memorial sculptures, such as the “Living Memorial” to writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. In 2005, she was honoured as Commander of the Order of the British Empire, a testament to the respect she has garnered for her works. As Camp’s moving works of art continue to inspire a new generation of revelers, those with an appreciation for African art, such as Tunde Folawiyo and countless others around the world, may forever honor her work for its everlasting influence on the genre as a whole.

Tunde Folawiyo | The work of the artist Gavin Jantjes

Gavin Jantjes is a South African artist. Born in Cape Town in 1948, Jantjes demonstrated an interest in art from a young age; as a result, he spent several years of his childhood studying at the Children’s Art Centre. He received his undergraduate degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 1969, after which he moved to Germany for two years, in order to complete his masters at the

As an art fanatic, Tunde Folawiyo may know that Jantjes became a very vocal opponent of the apartheid regime during the seventies. His art reflected his views on this subject; one of his most notable pieces from this decade was the ‘South African Colouring Book’, which consisted of 11 screen prints, each of which is filled with text, drawings, news reports and photographs. Each of these sheets features a series of six colours, along with an image of a paint box, next to which are instructions for completing the picture.

The piece is designed much like a child’s colouring book, and serves as acerbic allusion to the discrimination and oppression imposed on the people of South Africa by the Afrikaner Nationalist Party, which was in power at this time. The graphic, cartoon-like quality of the images, coupled with the motif of ‘paint by numbers’ has led to many comparing it to the work of Andy Warhol.

Tunde FolawiyoIn addition to this type of art, Jantjes has also created many oil paintings; those which he made during the nineties indicate an interest in archaic forms of art, with many bearing a strong resemblance to cave drawings. One untitled piece made in 1990 features three connected figures, whose body parts are both human and animal. The painting appears to portray the carrying out of an ancient cultural ritual, and has been praised by experts and art lovers alike for its stark, powerful imagery.

In the eighties, Jantjes decided to move to Britain; he was active within its art scene, spending most of his time lecturing at art schools, serving on several galleries’ advisory boards, and curating exhibitions.  In addition, he also had a number of solo and group exhibitions, not only in Britain, but also in the US, Cuba and South Africa. Those with an interest in art, like Tunde Folawiyo, may be aware that during the nineties, Jantjes was a curator at the Serpentine Gallery, taught at the Chelsea College of Art & Design, and served as an advisor at the Tate. For the past 16 years, he has worked as the Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter’s artistic director.

Tunde Folawiyo | New York’s Museum of African Art

As one of the world’s foremost displays of historical African Art, the Museum for African Art remains committed to honouring the works of a variety of famed African artists. The museum has long been recognised as a pioneer in the African art movement, showcasing exhibits that provoke deep, meaningful thought amongst viewers. Fans of African Art such as Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others may continue to be inspired by the magnificent works of art held at the African Art museum.

Tunde FolawiyoSince its establishment in 1984, the museum has played an immeasurable role in the way the world sees African-born art. In order to further honour these artistic creations the Museum is planning for a new structure to enable a long desired expansion. The expansion will aid in spreading the institution’s exhibitions, educational initiatives and public programs consisting of lectures, symposia, and film series that allow for exploring Africa’s art, cultures, artists and history as well as current affairs within Africa. The new museum will occupy an area of about 90,000 square ft. Located on the corner at Fifth Avenue & East 100th in New York, the museum will be a part of the city’s “Museum Mile”. An official opening date is expected to be announced during construction’s final phase.

For years during and prior to the civil rights movement, the work of African artists was severely underrepresented throughout the United States. As one of the world’s leading locations for housing African art, the museum holds huge historical significance and serves as an enormous source of inspiration for millions with close ties to the continent of Africa. Throughout its history, the institution has organised about 70 exhibitions having traveled to upwards of 143 venues spanning 17 countries worldwide. Current exhibitions include those by Jane Alexander and Ibrahim El-Salahi with previous exhibits showcasing the renowned works of Sammy Baloji’s photomontages depicting past and present times in Congo.

Whilst today’s era of African Art is widespread compared to its meager past, the African Art continues to inspire millions. With the incredible history surrounding the African people, their works of art provide the world a valuable glimpse into the way of life throughout the continent, providing a much-needed perspective not regularly seen. Citizens of Africa such as Tunde Folawiyo and countless other art enthusiasts throughout the world may continue to be inspired by the renowned works of African art housed at the New York’s African Art museum.