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Manna777 Gallery is more than pleased to present “I Sing Your Praise…….” an exhibition of select works spanning the almost 60 year career of Ademola Olugebefola.

“I Sing Your Praise……,” looks at the Artist’s celebrated use of the recurring trope, the pyramidical form in his oeuvre. This curatorial pays focused attention on Olugebefola’s use of the pyramid and triangular shaped motif in his creation of a Neo-African aesthetic.
Donna Mason, Curator

He is Caribbean born, American raised, African inspired. Rich, vibrant color and the lines that evoke movement are a signature recurring theme for Olugebefola that speaks to the Caribbean him. The American him saw him birthing revolution in the 1960s as a visual art activist and cultural warrior of the Black Arts Movement – subverting the violent defensive response characteristic of the then negro American, Olugebefola chose then representational art as social commentary. “In my over 50 year career as a career artist, I have not strayed from my purpose driven ethos to use my art to lend regality to the African descendant in America,” Olugebefola said.

His African inspirations saw him reviving Yoruba symbolism and Pyramid forms to construct an African golden age envisioning a mythical Orion with Orionic principles from an ancient Dogon myth and cemented a past with a visionary future for embattled descendants living under a repressive regime. He gave birth to Afrofuturism in the visual arts in the Sunra futuristic era of the 1970s.

“Twentieth-century African-American artists employing Yoruba images in their work have gone from protest art to the exploration and celebration of the self and the community.” Moyo Okediji, “The Shattered Gourd Youruba Forms in Twentieth-Century American Art.”

A problematic stance to have taken even now some 60 years later as the art market gloms onto the visuals of protest art as a retrospective defining marker of that turbulent decade while missing the inherent power in the focused attention paid to decode representation and ushering in the paradigm shift of a race by creating a body of work in celebration of the beauty of a people by rewriting coded symbolism and erasing stereotyped, Jim crow era demeaning imagery the larger society entertained themselves with.

Speaking as a member of the WEUSI Artist Collective in a 2012 interview, the artist said, “We were warriors. We are warriors. We believed in the philosophy ‘Black Art for Black People.’ There was a need to deconstruct a lot of the stereotypes that had still been lingering since enslavement – so, we set out to beautify the Black woman, regalize the Black man in our images – promote the culture, the beauty of – brilliance of color within the African tradition.”

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