Òmó Oba Adetomiwa Adekanmbi Gbadebo was born in Nigeria to the royal Gbadebo family of Abeokuta, the Royal family of Ilé-Ifè, and the Oshodi Tapa of Lagos. HRH Prince Adetomiwa uses this Yorùbá heritage and his personal life experiences to create an art based on emotion and the journey that life lays before man.
Adetomiwa’s practice is cloaked in tradition and a deep sense of commitment to self expression. As he works, multiple ideas develop in his conscious and subconscious mind. These ideas evolve into languages of spiritual strength, guided by Ifá religious philosophy, and the Orishas - spirit ancestors of the Yorùbá people.
As an artist Adetomiwa powers his creativity through the natural balance of his whole being. The work is totally representative of his authentic identity as a son of Africa – unwilling to conform to any social narrative outside his own reality. Prince Adetomiwa seeks to use his work as a tool to break the divide between Africa and the Diaspora, and to create a greater sense of global community between all peoples.
Focused on the issues of today, the Prince offers a contemporary application of the cultural, theatrical and oral traditions of the Yorùbá people. Each piece is its own divination - its own living shrine, the destiny of a singular moment. What has been created intends to influence the viewer to truly see that which they are choosing not to see; to question all solutions given, while selflessly aiming for positive progression. His artistic offerings are meant to contribute directly to the global dialogue on prosperity, disparity, social advancement, and strife. He would like to challenge people’s previously unquestioned intellect to inspire greater equilibrium in life.
For the exhibit, Ọba Kò so - Erú Ko Si Siwaju Sii (The King Did Not Hang. Slaves No More.), Adetomiwa urges to viewer to ponder the idea of natural order and balance. Nature and staying connected to the earth is central to the theme, while community is at the heart of the message. He is showing us that like his art, we as a people are individual creations that work naturally in concert with one another. Together we are one community. Through connection to surroundings and self, the Prince believes that we are better equipped to attain greater authenticity, and freedom of being.
Prince Gbadebo sits on the MAEP board at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and has recently exhibited at the Istanbul Art International, and the International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, art fairs. Adetomiwa spent time this past summer as an artist in residence at the invitation of the Chiesta Evangelica Metodista in Florence, Italy.
2015 Ọba kò so - ẹrú ko si siwaju sii, City Wide Artists,
2015 A-FREE-CA, Artist in residence, Chiesa Evangelica Metodista, Firenze, Italia
2015 Awọn ọmọ Odùduwà, Phantom Gallery, Superior, WI
2016 "City Spit", City Wide Artists, Minneapolis, MN
2015 FLAUNT: AFRICA NEW WAVE, Ethan Cohan Gallery, Chelsea, Mangattan, NY
2014 Contemporary Nigerian Art, South Shore Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
2015 “Chicago International Art Fair,” Pearl Lam Galleries
2015 “Istanbul Art international,” Pearl Lam Galleries
Panel / Board
2014- Present: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MAEP (Minnesota Artist Exhibition Program - challenging new artists and exhibiting established artists with the emphasis on artistic & ethnic diversity in bringing about progressive changes in the art world).