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Arts and Crafts People and Places The Tourist Trail

Great Artists: An Afternoon with Gbolade Omidiran

bolade art 2

Intensely passionate about art, Gbolade Omidiran is an artist with a mastery of his craft. A graduate of the Department of Art , Obafemi Awolowo University , Gbolade`s repertoire of original art  is extensive. In a few hours with him in his home in Ile-Ife,  I was  inspired by the  innovative mind of this man.

Bolade gallery with ipad

From the elegant building with the modern stone facade, to the carefully laid concrete tiles, Gbolade`s home itself spoke volumes. This was the home of a successful artist with a  taste and passion for creativity. This was the home of a creative; confident in his talents and abilities, ambitious to find new ways to express himself.

Bolades home in Ife - Copy


As Gbolade gave me a tour of  his gallery, a fairground of colour , my eyes darted in glee. Every piece was unique, every piece a magnet drawing the eye in and awakening my imaginative spirit.

Beyond this, the theme of  experimentation was evident. We talked about the  range of   eclectic materials and  techniques which Gbolade employed in his work.  Wood carvings. African masks. African drums. Bronze figurines. All around the gallery, his curated  collection carefully selected to reflect a rich heritage of African art.

Wistfully recalling his time as an undergraduate , Gbolade spoke of the value of passing on knowledge to fuel the next generation of artists. Tutored by the  great teachers and visionaries like Agbo Folarin and Baba Lamidi Fakeye, Gbolade understands the importance of mentoring upcoming artists.

All around me, young artists (mostly undergraduates from the University of Ife) were in various states of learning, experimentation and creative sharing; discovering the bridge between raw talent, craftsmanship and discipline. The rapport was infectious.

Wall Mural on site

As a prolific artist sought after by clientele across Nigeria, Gbolade is hardworking, constantly creating  bespoke murals and paintings for private homes all across Nigeria and internationally.

And Gbolade continues to grow. In 2014,  a purpose-built gallery  was opened to showcase his artistic genius and collections. It has become the destination for all lovers of art, tourist and clientele looking for something unique to adorn their homes or add to their collections of African art.



My afternoon with Gbolade will stay with me for a long time. It felt nostalgic, warm and filled my spirit. The creative use of shapes, symbols, colour, motifs and African  imagery  left me re-energised. I came away with a deep appreciation for the abilities of this artist and the humanity which he conveyed in the stories he told through his art.


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  • Reply
    January 30, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Not only is this amazing artist “doing his thing” , he is also he is also giving back by training others. Im so inspired. This is an awesome article.

    • Reply
      January 30, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks Dele. It was a priviledge to get to spend time with a true creative spirit in his most natural abode.

  • Reply
    April 7, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Very interesting and well researched article. Going to nook and corners to discover new talents to write about is a lot of work on the part of the writer. Kudos to her. This and many other articles she has written has distinguished her as a naturally talented and gifted writer. Keep up the good work, sky is your limit.

    • Reply
      April 7, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks for your wonderful comments!

  • Reply
    April 10, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Wow!! This is well articulated and interesting description of a true art icon. Please, keep up the good work.

    • Reply
      April 11, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks for your comments and taking the time to visit. Gbolade Omidiran is an icon indeed, it was a privilege to be able to spend time in his company.

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