Ibiyinka Olufemi Alao is an artist, filmmaker and author who represented his country — Nigeria — and became the first place winner of the prestigious United Nations International Art Competition amongst 61 countries. His entry "Girls and a Greener Environment" chronicles the life of a girl-child from infancy to adulthood and the values she acquires along the paths of life.
Ibiyinka's perspective is from the traditional African viewpoint. Ibiyinka was trained as an architect at the University Of Ile-Ife Nigeria. His father was a very quiet man and from him, Ibiyinka grew up to learn that happiness in life is a code which we can often decode by listening to silent voices and speaking without talking.
Even at an early age, Ibiyinka saw what many others didn't. He saw life in "color" and "color" as a language. This unique perspective of life allowed him to depict, in a clear and elaborate manner, what he had a hard time articulating. The empty surface soon became a vehicle for bringing his thoughts to life and giving his opinion a voice. He says: "Wisdom is what we have when we realize that vanity isn't a vice after all, and that emptiness is an opportunity to fill. What really makes us artists is a void in our heart that is the size of the universe without us. We live our lives trying to fill this void. God himself created all to fill that void. This is how we break the codes of creation — Genesis."
Today, Ibiyinka's paintings speak volumes and the impact of his works has received worldwide recognition. His paintings are currently in the United States on tour. They have been exhibited at The National Museum of Nigeria, the Harvard Business School, the Indianapolis Art Center, the Martin Luther King Art Center, COCA St. Louis, Springfield, MO Art Museum, the African Unity Festival, the Nigerian Consulate, the Nigerian Embassy, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Cultures, the New York University Brownstone Salon, the Queens borough Library International Resource Center, the United Nations headquarters, the World Bank headquarters, as well as the Empire State Building.
In between exhibitions, Ibiyinka finds himself giving open lectures at universities and setting up workshops in community centers across the country. As Nigeria's Art Ambassador, Ibiyinka is available for speaking engagements, participation in seminars, panel discussions, workshops and exhibitions.
These paintings are a rare collection of an artist who has spent many years expressing a peaceful view of integration of cultures in our world today through the use of colors.
"MY FIREFLIES" is a 2019/2020 animated and live action movie directed by Ibiyinka about the story of his painting "Eternity in our Hearts" which inspired the award winning book by Scholastic "Ibi's Fireflies." It is a true childhood story about love, falling and rising again. It was shown at the Firefly and Block of Art Film Festivals in Spring and Summer 2019. Plans are under way to show it some more in the US and internationally in 2020 before making it available on DVD and for streaming on the internet.
Scholastic Kids are Authors Winners: http://www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/news/kids-are-authors-winners
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