Olabayo David Olaniyi is an academically and philosophically-imbued artist with one foot in traditional arts and the other in Western know-how. He creates art objects of power based on his unique philosophy "Life is a Performance." He currently lives and works in the United States of America, bridging four realities - sacred, physical, old, and new - in an artform unique to him. He has a vast skillset of talents, including architectural, interior, and stage design, visual and performance art. His artful thought process makes him a valuable asset to any field or project he embarks on and any community he encounters.
Olabayo received his BFA from the College of Santa Fe in 1993 and his MA/MFA from the University of Iowa in 2002. He has been an artist-in-resident at the National Black Theatre in Harlem and at the University of Michigan, where he developed the artistic philosophy, "Life is a Performance." He has exhibited, performed and conducted art workshops across the nation, artfully transforming every community he encounters. His art objects are in many prestigious private and public collections, including the New Mexico Governor's office, the Smithsonian Institute and the University of Iowa Museum of Art.
Olabayo David Olaniyi was born in 1970 in Oshogbo, Nigeria, a city renown worldwide for arts and culture. His parents are two of Africa's most prominent artists, Chief Prince Twin Seven Seven, the UNESCO 2005 "Artist for Peace," and Chief Nike Davies Okundaye, renown 4th generation fiber-artist who currently owns and operates the largest art gallery in West Africa, Nike Art Centre located in Lagos, Nigeria. Growing up around a variety of traditionally-skilled artisans, craftspeople, and musicians, Olabayo absorbed and mastered a variety of mediums including woodcarving, beading, fiber art, weaving, drumming and theatre.
Olabayo studies and emphasizes the role objects play in daily performances relative to time and space. His in-depth understanding and unrivaled mastery of material births museum-quality art objects and collectibles employing a dynamic set of talents ranging from metalsmithing, wood/stone carving, painting, bead mosaics and digital art fused with today's technology.
Reena Olaniyi is an American artist living in the State of Iowa since 2003. She received her BFA in sculpture from the University of Michigan in 2002. In 2001 she co-founded the art and design company Bayo Arts & Design and ran the influential, well-publicized gallery, Bayo Gallery in Iowa City from 2004-2007. She has exhibited, produced and performed art across the United States of America including in prestigious institutions like the National Black Theatre in Harlem, NY, University of Iowa Museum of Art, and Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, NM. Her extensive outreach in the art world includes fellow artists, curators, museum directors, and gallerists throughout the world.
In 2007 Reena and Olabayo David Olaniyi moved to a rural setting in Jefferson County, Iowa with a dedicated vision to build a unique 10 acre sculpture park, Bayo Park & Galleries, to house the vast range of their talents.
Reena specializes in hand-made jewelry and sculpture. She currently operates Ree Ola Jewelry, creating one-of-a-kind unique designer hand-made jewelry.