Laolu Senbanjo is a Nigerian visual artist, musician, and human rights lawyer who divides his time between New York and his home country. He started drawing as an undergraduate at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria, and since then has developed the “Afromysterics” style of art. He describes “Afromysterics” as “the mystery of the African thought pattern” as expressed through a variety of artistic mediums, including visual and musical. “I talk about things or stories that most times are not told outside of Africa. I try to take stories from my roots.”
Laolu’s art–usually rendered in charcoal–is visually bold, consisting of strong lines that create organic shapes embedded with symbolism and imagery. He likes to depict stories which often include references to West African mythologies or representations of his environment. Artists he looks up to include Twins Seven Seven of Nigeria, Salvador Dali, Fela Kuti, Bruce Onobrakpeya, and Picasso. While he does hope that his art communicates a particular story, he is aware that everyone will get something different out of it: “I see art as an experience. You let people go into it and have their own experience.”
The last few months have been busy for this contemporary artist. Exhibitions at his gallery in Abuja include both art and musical events because, as he says, “I make art about my music and music about my art.” He recently worked on a book cover and a mural, and currently has an exhibition in Brooklyn, NY titled “Ayanmo: Soul.Searching.Destiny” that explores African mythology, politics, proverbs, and deities. You can see more of Laolu’s artwork on his website.