Anthony Olubunmi Akinbola (b. 1991, Columbia, Missouri) is a first-generation American raised between Missouri and Nigeria. Foregoing conventional approaches to painting and sculpture, Akinbola reimagines the construction of identity through startling original treatments of color and texture. His self-developed techniques explore the possibilities of totemic materials such palm oil, hair brushes, and durags—fiber scarves used in the maintenance of Black hair. Characterizing his works as “metaphors for what a first-generation existence might look like,” Akinbola unpacks the rituals and histories separating Africa from Black America. His multifaceted compositions celebrate and reconcile diverse cultural narratives, creating multilayered works of art that engage consumption, respectability, and the commodification of Black culture.
Akinbola was selected for the Anderson Ranch Art Center Residency in 2017, was awarded the Van Lier Fellowship in 2019, and was an artist in residence at Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna in 2020. He has featured in exhibitions at The Queens Museum, NY, Pace Gallery, NY, The Zuckerman Museum of Art, GA, Night Gallery, CA, Carbon12, UAE, and The Verbeke Foundation, Belgium, among others. Following his show at the Museum of Art and Design, NY in 2020, Akinbola mounted a significant solo exhibition in early 2021 at the Kohler Arts Center, WI, and his first ever solo gallery presentation - by Fire by Force - at FALSE FLAG.