To see the world through Yisa Akinbolaji’s sensibility is to see it particularized through an array of emotions articulated in a play of light, color and form. Each work is realized with restraint, dignity, and not a small amount of visual poetry and visual references to his Nigerian heritage.
What becomes abundantly clear in looking, as a whole, on Yisa Akinbolaji’s artworks, is the artist’s indispensable capacity to attain a certain emotional involvement. These include attempts at defining a sense of history, or memory and of the self. He resists any temptation to sentimentalize his work – and chooses instead to engage the tensions and provide us with an integrative wholeness that carries with it a sense of order and hope. (adapted from John Austin’s comments in the catalogue for the show From My Black-Etched Pot – at New Art Gallery New York.)
One is readily drawn to the boldness of his colours, the intricacy of the design and what seems like never-ending allusions to things that are familiar.
This Winnipeg artist notes how his work is shaped by his experiences in partnership with the dance of his imagination. It is work that captures a celebratory note as though it is an expression of thanksgiving, an overflow of joy.