Nigerian Ambassador of Art to Present at Latrobe Art Center

Latrobe, PA: Latrobe Art Center will be welcoming acclaimed Nigerian Arts Ambassador, Ibiyanka Alao, on Wednesday, July 15 for a presentation on contemporary African Art and the promotion of peace and unity through artistic expression. Having won the United Nations International Art Competition in 2001, Alao has served as an ambassador for his country by traveling extensively throughout the world to encourage happiness, love, and unity through color and artistic expression. The presentation will occur in the midst of Latrobe Art Center’s summer Kids Art Camp, where Alao will engage the children through singing, drumming, and dancing exercises.

Born in the Kogi State of Nigeria in 1975, Alao learned from his father that: “happiness in life is a code which we can often decode by listening to silent voices and speaking without talking.” From an early age, Alao saw life in color, and color as a language. He used art to express what he may have otherwise not been able to articulate, and channeled his visual senses to spread messages of unity and peace.  Alao studied architecture at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, but has continued to produce beautiful works of art which have received worldwide recognition.

When asked about what influences his art and the themes he employs, Alao noted “My greatest influences in life and in art are my Father, my Mother, and the ways they showed me about loving each other, loving others, and loving the Almighty God. The greatest theme that comes through my work is Redemption.” It was this vision that won him the United Nations International Art Competition in 2001 with his piece “Girls and a Greener Environment” which chronicles the life of a girl from infancy to adulthood and the values she acquires along the paths of life, and motivated him to travel the world to spread his positive messages as the Arts Ambassador for Nigeria.

Though Alao has already had a casual visit to Latrobe Art Center during a speech he recently gave at Saint Vincent, Alao requested a return visit during the week of the gallery’s summer Kids Art Camp so that he could meet the children and share his experiences and passion for art and diplomacy. The purpose of his presentation is to focus on character development by motivating and inspiring individuals to see the relationship between reading, writing, visual art, language, geography, culture, architecture, math, and science. Members of the community are invited to attend Alao’s presentation, without charge, at Latrobe Art Center’s gallery on Ligonier Street. The time of the presentation is to be announced, and anyone with questions or who would like to attend are encouraged to call Latrobe Art Center.

The welcoming of Ibiyinka Alao to Latrobe Art Center continues to support the organization’s mission of improving the quality of life in the area by encouraging individuals to share in the creative process and explore the visual arts. As a nonprofit community art gallery with an exceptional group of member artists, Latrobe Art Center greatly appreciatesAlao’s generous donation of time and energy to share his positive and inspiring messages.

Sharon Reaves