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Gasali Adeyemo – Fiber Arts

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Gasali Onireke Adeyemo is the third born of five from a small rural village, Offatedo, located in Osun State, Nigeria. His mother is a trader and his father, a farmer. Although his family was rich in spirit and culture, they were poor in capital and he sponsored his own education throughout his years at St. George Elementary and Ido Osun High School.

From a very young age, he realized his artistic potential and he would attend social gatherings, such as weddings, naming and burial ceremonies, and other cultural parties offering to sketch portraits of the guests, for a small donation. his sketching career combined with long, hard days working on the village farms provided adequate income to successfully complete his academic education through high school.

At this point, his attention turned to improving upon his artistic potential.He discovered the Nike Center for Arts and Culture in 1990, where he remained for a total of six years. The first two years of his experience at the Nike Center was spent mastering the arts of batik painting on fabric, indigo dyeing, quilt making, embroidery, applique, and batik painting on rice paper. During the following four years, he spent long days teaching these skills to incoming students at the Nike Center.
Eventually, the popularity of the Nike Center grew and hundreds of people came to Osogbo, Nigeria from all over the world to study and enrich their knowledge and understanding of the arts and culture of the Yoruba people. He spent much of his time conducting workshops and training people in the crafts of his culture.

In 1995, his long years of service and dedication to the Nike Center paid off, and his artwork was exhibited in Bayreuth, Germany, alongside the work of five other artists from Nigeria. His work made quite an impact, and many people traveled to Osogbo looking for the artist named Gasali. People who were exposed to his work later commissioned me to do quilt work and other pieces and his artistic career truly began to bloom.

In 1996 the opportunity arose to travel outside of Nigeria for the first time in his life. A woman named Karen came to Osogbo, Nigeria through an exchange program from America. Thet met and did workshops together. Impressed with  his work, she invited him to come to the University of Iowa to do a series of exhibitions and workshops. Once there, the Octagon Gallery in Ames, Iowa took notice of his work and offered to exhibit it. He was also invited to work with a group of teenagers doing storytelling and art workshops to share with them the traditions of his own Yoruba culture.

These experiences in Iowa opened the door to greater opportunities. He has traveled across the U.S conducting more workshops and exhibitions. In the future, he plans to continue to travel worldwide, sharing the arts and culture of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. He currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

See his work below:

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