With beads, Olafisoye interrogates spiritual art, craft

Art, in its functionality, design or craft, goes beyond creative application in the studio of Chief Robinson Olafisoye. There is a dual role of using his art and craft to promote tourism as well as African spirituality. And with the Lagos State government’s projection of turning Ikorodu into a tourism hub, Olafisoye, whose studio is located on Agric area of the town, appears well prepared for the future.

A ride through quite a number of rough roads, off the main Ikorodu Expressway, leads to the 63-year-old artist’s studio. Serving as home and studio, is a detached block of one of the two buildings inside the gated compound.

On the wall of his studio are art and craft works such as, bead pieces on board depicting traditional Yoruba religious icons, as well as royal paraphernalia. However, there is, spiritual attachment to Olafisoye’s design pieces, particularly fashion accessories like shoes, staff (walking stick), caps and others.

With over 40 years in practice, Olafisoye who was trained at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos – after being ‘self-taught’ for many years – now runs a craft production unit in Ipaja, while his art studio is at Ikorodu, where he resides.

“In line with the vision of the state to turn Ikorodu into a tourism hub, I am planning an art and craft centre here,” he tells his guest, with high enthusiasm.

For an artist and craftsman, who appears to have had the best of times on the job of over four decades, desire to further fuel a burning creative enterprise could not have come at a better time.

Olafisoye, after being formally trained at Yabatech, later studied ceramics and other art courses in The Netherlands and India.

“I have been doing art and crafts in ceramic sculpture. I am now into beads art, particularly traditional African heritage.”

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