Dayo Laoye (b. 1959)
Born in Ede, Nigeria in 1959, Dayo Laoye was raised in the Yoruba tradition. He studied at Yaba College of Technology in Lagos and Howard University in Washington D.C. These two institutions molded him toward his professional career. At Yaba, he was formed in the methodology of the visual arts while Howard instilled the theory of art and the legacy of Dr. Alain Locke. His exhibitions and honors include local and national venues.
My work expresses my environment. Observations of our natural, political, and spiritual beliefs provide me with inspiration. My mother, a schoolteacher, moved to Ibadan where my father was stationed. The City of Ibadan is the home of the first television station in Africa. The TV and my watercolors box were my babysitters. I drew what I saw on television, including dancers, men in combat and cartoons.
Drawing from my grandparents’ photos was also an early influence. Although I was trained as a figurative artist, my work has become stylized, and I consider it semi-abstract. I create representational and recognizable subject matter. Some of my teachers and influences include: Prof. Yussuf Grillo, Kolade Oshinowo, Prof. Lois Mailou Jones, Dr. Samella Lewis, Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, Wilfredo Lam, John Biggers, Dr. David Driskell, Skunder Boghasian, Dr. Dele Jegede and Henry O. Tanner. Since I moved to Chicago over two decades ago, the presence/continuity of African tradition in the city has become my repertoire.