Oluwole Omofemi (born 1988), born Godwin Oluwole Omofemi, is an international artist who hails from Edo south in Nigeria. He was born in the ancient city of Ibadan where his artistic talent sprang to life and received the nourishment of older artists.
Omofemi shared his early life with his grandpa who was a major influence on him and wanted him to become an electrician. As a child, Omofemi loved to display his creativity through infantile drawings on the floor. He dazzled his older neighbour with such displays that a woman once predicted his future artistic accomplishments.
He not only experienced a measure of hardship in his childhood, but also faced lonely spells. These further helped to deepen his artistic vision and provided sources of materials for his creativity.
Nostalgically, Omofemi’s childhood experiences in the inner streets of Ibadan helped shape his artist vision. However, he spent part of his childhood in Edo state Nigeria when his mother was estranged. She took him to Etsako, Agenebode – a fishing community in a costal region. Here, he lived as a fishmonger. Omofemi’s mother, together with young Omofemi, later reunited with his grandpa. Still seething with creative energy, he was registered at a primary school. He later went to live with his paternal grandpa who taught him to have a strong attitude about life.
At his early years, Omofemi was propelled to hawk beer; while doing this, he used a part of his earnings to buy drawing books in order to kickstart his artistic career. He later acquired a wheelbarrow to facilitate his beer business.
The hustle and bustle of Ibadan metropolis, especially the popular Dugbe Market, were factors that imbued him with creative impulses, and fired his artistic imagination. He later met an artist, from whom he acquired some first-hand informal artistic skills. Omofemi was later recognized as one of the best artsts at his Junior Secondary School – Community Grammar School, Mokola, Ibadan.
Tope Fatunbi was the first professional artist who helped clear the path for omofemi’s artistic career. He has had a teaching stint, and likes dancing, meeting people as well as playing football.
He once opened a Kiosk for the display of his miniatures. Interestingly, the name ‘Oluwole’ was given to him by his grandpa; it is a Yorùbá word that literally means, ‘God has paid us a visit.’ This is because his grandpa had always believed Omofemi would be his heir.
His strength as an artist lies in showcasing human figures; and this is a skill he has steadily honed on the professional turf. His chosen media are oil and acrylic with preference for oil.
Omofemi’s first arts exhibition was at the National Museum, Ibadan, Nigeria. Alliance Françé, Ibadan, has also hosted his exhibition. His other exhibitions include the ones at some prestigious galleries in Lagos, Italy, Belgium and Ghana. He has had one solo exhibition to his credit.
For him, African Art has more depth since it is often a portrayal of sometime complex personal experiences. His mind continues to resonate with childhood experiences that proved material for his arts. He believes art has a functional role in society to correct vices, to reveal the messages in the mind of the artist, and as a record of the past.
He received his Higher National Diploma from the Polytechnic of Ibadan, where he was also recognized as one of the best graduating students of the year. As a visionary, Omofemi has always wanted to deploy arts to better the lot of the underprivileged, to showcase African fashion and feminine charm, and to bring about the rediscovery of afrocentric pride. His works are widely collected in Nigeria and abroad.