Yusuf Grillo Nigeria, b. 1934

Emerging to prominence and international recognition in the 1960s and 1970s, YUSUF GRILLO is deeply influenced by the characteristics of traditional Yoruba philosophy and sculpture.

Widely regarded as one of Nigeria's most celebrated contemporary artists, Yusuf Grillo has led a prolific career that has shaped the discourse of modern art in the country. As a member of the Zaria Arts Society, popularly known as the Zaria Rebels, Grillo combined training in the Western-representational style with a focus on Nigeria's cultural history. He is particularly known for the specific use of the color blue in his paintings, a reference to adire and resist-dye textiles used in Nigeria.


After extensive education in Nigeria and the UK, Grillo served as Head of the Department of Art and Printing at Yaba College of Technology for over twenty five years. His iconic stained glass and mosaic works have been commissioned for a number of public buildings in Nigeria including churches, universities, government buildings, and the Murtala Mohammed International Airport. Grillo has also served as the founding president of the Society of Nigerian Artists, the professional body for all practicing artists in Nigeria.