Nike. The American sportswear company has selected Laolu Senbanjo as a Master of Air which will see him create art-inspired Air Max at the Air Max Con 2016.
According to Nike as a “Master of Air”, Senbanjo will “draw on inspiration from his Yoruba heritage and global travels. At Air Max Con, he’ll be creating art, incorporating his love for Air Max, New York City, and sports”.
Born and raised in Ilorin, Senbanjo will infuse his Afromysterics, a term the talented artist coined in 2007, “which means, the mystery of the African thought pattern”.
Laolu has one thing working for him, Afromysterics, his style of art developed over the years. Most of the things he draws has a lot to do with African themes and African traditions, hence the name, “Afromysterics” which he coined around 2006 – 2007.
Senbanjo says all of his artwork is heavily influenced by his Yoruba heritage and life experiences. “…feminism, women and children are often present and common themes in my work,” Senbanjo says.
“Afromysterics” simply means “the mystery of the African thought pattern.”The same style informed Nike’s decision to make him a Master of Air and he will weave stories through lines and patterns at Air Max Con NYC, drawing inspiration from his Yoruba heritage and global travels. Laolu will be creating art, incorporating his love for Air Max (Air Max 90 is his favourite), New York City, and sports.
A gifted musician and law graduate, with experience in human rights law, having practiced in Nigeria, Senbanjo has a wide repertoire of themes to draw from. He fearlessly and boldly infuses these themes in his artwork.
“I am a passionate activist and you will notice how most of my works have social justice ideologies woven throughout,”
Reacting to the news of his selection by Nike, Laolu said: “I’m making my dreams a reality. This is my ayanmo (a Yoruba word for ‘destiny’). Create your destiny. Let me be your inspiration. Just do it!”
Although he bagged a degree in Law at Nigeria’s University of Ilorin, it has always been art first for him. Today, he uses his knowledge in law to ensure his copyrights and intellectual property are protected. But art has always been the priority.
He started his art with charcoal. He says this was because charcoal is one of the oldest art materials. “Prehistoric man used charcoal to create cave art, we can still see some of it today,” he says.
From his first exhibition in December 2009 at the Elephant House, Ikeja, Lagos where he did not sell a single work of art, until now, Laolu Sebanjo has gone a long way.
From March 24 to March 26, Laolu’s work will highlight his African roots as the world celebrates Nike’s popular Air Max brand.
The convention Air Max Day was introduced by Nike in 2014. It was created to celebrate the history of Air Max, which stretches back to March 24, 1987.
Called “the ultimate Air Max experience,” Air Max Con will pay tribute to an icon, along with the sneaker design, heritage and innovation that has shaped the culture of the streets today.
Nike says attendees will be able to “step into the shoes of a designer, meet the Masters of Air, and share experience with the sneaker community.”
The talented Nigerian artist, who also sings and plays the guitar, says he is always ready to work with “anyone interested in harnessing the ability of art to communicate ideas and abstract concepts in an aesthetically pleasing way”.
Check out Laolu’s amazing work here.