The Sacred Art of Ori Favorite 



Apr 27 2017


TED2017, Vancouver, BC

The story of an artist. Laolu Senbanjo grew up surrounded by the culture and mythology of the Yoruba, an ethnic group from the southwest of Nigeria, but he never imagined how it would influence the artist he is today. After a career as a human rights attorney, Senbanjo moved to New York City to pursue art full time. “With my art, I like to tell stories, I like to start a conversation,” says Senbanjo, but life as an artist in New York was tough. To make money, he began to paint on clothes and other objects, customizing them for wearers. “People were so proud to wear their stories,” he says. Everything soon became his canvas, even human bodies (you might recognize his work from Beyoncé’s Lemonade). “There’s something immediate about painting on human bodies,” he says. “It’s like art in motion.” To share his art in motion, he brought Reign and Angelica, the first two people he ever painted, onstage with him. On their backs were painted his fears; on their fronts, his hopes. “African art is not just what you buy in Harlem markets,” says Senbanjo. “Every artist has a story and every artist has a name.”

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