The idea of Òlàjú Art Group was conceived by Obafemi Ogunleye in 2013 while he was serving in the Nigerian National Youth Service Corps. His personal mission, during this time, was to educate himself on his families Nigerian heritage through the lens of artists, galleries, and museums. After attending many studio visits and museum programs, he began to see, first-hand, the power of art as a tool for cultural education. As a result of this experience, he began to think of how to establish a platform to educate wider audiences with premium cultural content on an international level.
Òlàjú Art Group: The Foundational Years (2015-2020)
In 2015, upon Obafemi’s return to the United States, Òlàjú Art Group was formally registered as a non-profit organization in the State of Texas. The organization originally began with a focus on curating works from African artists to be provided as traveling exhibitions for cultural and educational purposes. The first major exhibition presented by the organization was Perspectives from Within (2016) which featured photographs from Juliana Kasumu, Temi Coker, and Logor Oluwamuyiwa. In addition to exhibitions, our flagship program has been the African Market Festival, which is a one-day celebration of contemporary African arts and culture that takes place annually in San Antonio, TX.
Òlàjú: Rebranded (2020-Present)
In 2020, Òlàjú Art Group rebranded as Òlàjú. At this time, Juliana Kasumu, a long-time collaborator with the organization, joined officially as Co-Founder and Creative Director. The 2020 rebranding initiative positioned the organization to strengthen our programming in areas that can increase community impact, specifically exhibitions and publications. Together, the two founders work to oversee an annual program of creative operations.