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32 Years of Public Art: A Showcase of Ayokunle Odeleye

Fine Arts Review

By Charise Wallace

As you enter the exhibit, " 32 Years of Public Art," in the Art Gallery of the Fine and Performing Arts Center, you feel Ayokunle Odeleye's aura from all the artwork he creates. The art speaks of the many states and countries that he has visited.

When you look at his work, you can tell that he expresses a lot of thought, even with something as simple as a triangular symbol. Odeleye's work is earthy, Afro-centric, spiritual and family-oriented. It possesses geometric shapes symbolizing strength and wisdom.

An exhibition of the artist's work runs from Sept. 12 through Oct. 31. A reception and lecture by Odeleye was held Sept. 17. A panel discussion on public art is scheduled for Oct. 30 in the Recital Hall.

Odeleye received his master's degree in sculpture at Howard University. He has been a professional sculpture and arts educator for 38 years. He has taught at many schools in various grade levels: Dunbar High School, The Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Howard University, Woodland Middle School, Spelman College and Georgia State University in Atlanta. He is currently a senior professor of Art at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga. He has educated students for 24 years.

Odeleye is the primary owner, designer and fabricator for Odeleye Sculpture Studios in Stone Mountain, Ga. He has created work in many locales such as Atlanta, Richmond, Anchorage, Texas, Maryland, North Carolina and African countries.

Odeleye's work is not only moving when it deals with the structure and shapes of designs, but his work is also iconic, representing many important events and figures that took place in the United States. He honors W.E.B. Du Bois by creating a bronze bust, the “Martin Luther King Sculpture Bust,” “The 1898 Memorial,” “The Aurora Court Panels” and has represented “The Emancipation Proclamation.”

In November 2012, Odeleye was able to reflect back on his own work of art as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Atlanta showcased 32 years of his Public Art.

Bowie State honored him as well as Fine Arts Prof. Clayton Lang gave Odeleye his own exhibition to honor his work. The showcase was intended to encourage not only fine arts students, but to inspire students from across campus.

Learn more about the Odeleye Sculpture Studios at www.odeleysculpturestudios.com.