Jimo Akolo Nigeria, b. 1934
Jimo Akolo is a leading modern master of art in Nigeria. As a painter and sculptor, his artworks focus on indigenous cultural traditions and Nigerian folklore, in addition to depictions of everyday life. His work is influenced by his life in Northern Nigeria, including its landscapes, encounters and sombre tones.
Born in Lagos in 1934 and originally from Egbe, Kogi State, Jimo Bola Akolo started painting early in his life while at Keffi Boys Secondary School. He was taught by Dennis Dueden, an education officer of the colonial government, at Keffi Government College. In this early period, Akolo was included in the 1956 exhibition Keffi Boys at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Akolo attended the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, along with fellow artist peers Demas Nwoko, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Yusuf Grillo and Uche Okeke. He was a founding member of the Zaria Art Society, but broke off from the group early in his university education. He later studied at the Hornsey College of Art in London and Indiana State University in Bloomington. In 1966, he joined the faculty at Ahamadu Bello University, where he taught over three decades.
Akolo studied in Britain and the United States, and he has participated in numerous international exhibitions throughout his career, including a solo exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery in London in 1964. Akolo received Nigeria’s National Cultural Trophy in 1962. He served as an Education Officer in the Northern Nigeria Ministry of Education from 1963-1966. One of his murals is permanently installed at the Northern House of Assembly in Kaduna. In 2019, the National Gallery of Art in Abuja presented a retrospective exhibition of his works.
The Essential Jimo AkoloA Retrospective of Drawings and Paintings 15 Feb - 12 Mar 2022kó Gallery is very delighted to present The Essential Jimo Akolo: A Retrospective of
Drawings and Paintings from 1961 to 2015.
For the first time in Lagos, kó will be presenting a rare Zaria Art School graduate of 1961, a
member of the Zaria Art Society. Considered by some scholars as a rebel of the “rebels”. Over
thirty-one drawings and paintings of the artist’s collection will be featured. The exhibition also has
works loaned from some private collectors in Nigeria that are also included in this show. In addition,
images of his early works in the collection of Bristol Museum, the University of Sussex, in Britain,
and Yemisi Shyllon Museum Nigeria will be included in the well-illustrated catalogue to give the art
community a rare glimpse into the artist’s creative oeuvre and his unspoken place on the stage of
contemporary Nigerian art.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jimo Akolo (b. 1935)
Jimo Akolo is a retired professor of art education who combined art teaching, administration, and a
vibrant art career like any of his contemporaries.
Born in Egbe, Kogi State, Nigeria, Jimo Bola Akolo’s artworks focus on indigenous cultural
traditions, and the depiction of everyday life. Working predominantly as a painter, Akolo’s work is
influenced by designs and patterns reminiscent of Hausa architecture and art. Renowned for his
unwavering adherence to the principles of individual artistic freedom, Akolo deeply engages with
the enchanting Zaria city scenery, landscapes and its people with refreshing aesthetic, and
philosophical perspective. Other subjects of interest are horse riders at festivals, and at war, festive
dancers, sportsmen, all rendered in loose brushstrokes, yet intense colours. His drawings are
expressed in strong and bold contemplative lines.
Jimo Akolo studied under Dennis Duerden, an education officer in the Nigerian Colonial Service at
Keffi Government College. During this period, he started painting and was
included in the 1956 exhibition Keffi Boys at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Jimo attended the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology, and was a founding member
of the Zaria Art Society, along with Yusuf Grillo, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Demas Nwoko, Uche Okeke.
He later studied at the Hornsey College of Art in London, and Indiana State University in
Bloomington. In 1966, he joined the faculty at Ahmadu Bello University where he taught for over
Akolo received Nigeria’s national Cultural Trophy and has participated in various exhibitions at the
Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery (London), National Gallery of Art (Nigeria), Nigerian Art Council,
second Havana Biennial (Cuba), Ohio State University Annual Symposium on African and West
(USA) among others.
Professor Jerry Buhari of the Department of Fine Art, Ahmadu Bello University is the curator of the