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  • Writer's pictureLa'Quitia Denson

Sunday Olaniyi: The Therapy and Nature of Art

Updated: Aug 18

We explore the therapy and nature of art while talking to Sunday Olaniyi, an award winning contemporary visual artist, designer, and entrepreneur from Oshogbo, Osun State. Nigeria. Sunday's artistry revolves around the use of beads as a medium of expression. His unique approach to art has garnered attention and admiration from art enthusiasts around the world. Join us as we delve into Sunday's artistic journey, the inspiration behind his creations, and the role of art in social change and wellness.

Sunday Olaniyi standing next to his beaded artwork, Gallery in Scranton
ILEFO (Float) Medium: Beads on Board

Discovering the Uniqueness of Beadwork:

When asked about his choice of medium, Sunday explains that he fell in love with beads due to their uniqueness and the ability to convey his message effectively. Beads became his voice, allowing him to communicate with viewers on a deeper level. Though he didn't initially intend to sell his artwork, the demand from admirers convinced him to explore the possibility. Sunday's passion for creating art shines through as he describes how beadwork serves as a therapeutic tool for him, helping him navigate through life's challenges.

Translating Voice into Art:

Sunday's art is a reflection of his observations of nature and society. He draws inspiration from the environment, using art as a medium to convey messages and initiate change. Through his art, Sunday speaks volumes to viewers, transcending language barriers. He recalls an instance where his art was instrumental in protesting against social issues in Nigeria, as well as addressing the experiences of African Americans and people of color. Sunday believes that art possesses the power to bridge gaps, provoke emotions, and spread awareness, making it an essential tool for social change.

Sunday Olaniyi, BEADED ART WORK, Contemporary Artist

Supporting Black and Brown Artists:

The art world, particularly in the area we cover, often lacks representation for Black and Brown artists. Sunday emphasizes the importance of support from various spaces, such as art shows and viewers, in promoting diversity and inclusivity. For Sunday, support means not only appreciating and learning from his art but also purchasing his work. By bringing his art into their homes, viewers become part of the narrative, expanding the reach of his voice and message.

Art by Sunday Olaniyi
Title: Tough time never lasts Medium: Recycled cardboard/Acrylic on canvas

The Artistic Process and Vision:

Sunday's artistic process is deeply rooted in spirituality and personal growth. He describes his transition from two-dimensional to three-dimensional art, incorporating elements of nature and his own life experiences. Each piece carries a story, infused with symbolism and wisdom inherited from his ancestors.

*An installation of mixed media art made out of treated tree bark and acrylic on canvas which depicted the profound wisdom, and it is this sagacious wisdom, embedded in the Yoruba proverbs and legends, that lie at the heart of this installation. The morals and values in ancient African history are the guiding forces in Olaniyi‘s works and their relevance to contemporary times.

Sunday Olaniyi, BEADED ART WORK, Contemporary Artist


Title: Grace

Dimension : 35 x 22 inches

Wingspan: 27 inches

Medium: recycle materials/ beads

Sunday: I saved this water kettle from going into trash a couple of years ago from my neighbor because there was a linkage hole underneath and the owner decided to throw it away. I asked the owner to give it to me since she doesn't need it anymore. I kept this kettle for like a year in my studio.

This kettle reminds me of my long walk to freedom after so many years of scaling through some obstacles, disappointment and tough times. In 2020 I was set free from long walks and I was able to gain #Speed on my leg and #wings on my back which are the two essential powers you need to be able to fly.

Sunday Olaniyi, BEADED ART WORK, Contemporary Artist


Title: Equanimity

Dimension : 30 x 12 inches

Wingspan: 12 inches

Medium: recycle materials/ beads /sea shells

The flying owl sculptural piece depicted a creature of great integrity, it's quiet demeanor accords it an air of mystery and diffidence, and it is widely recognized as a serene, wise observer of human society. It represents composure or coolness, sometimes excessive, as shown in danger or under trying circumstances that the world is facing right now. It is the bird that brings the message of peace, calmness, equality, and tranquility.

The Transformative Power of Art:

Sunday acknowledges the limitations of capturing his art through pictures and videos, emphasizing the importance of experiencing it in person. The intricate details and the fusion of art and nature come alive when viewed firsthand. His workshops provide opportunities for others to learn from his expertise and share in his artistic journey. Sunday's dedication to art and his willingness to share his story inspire others to explore their creativity and find their own unique voice.

Sunday Olaniyi's artistic journey is a testament to the transformative power of art and its ability to inspire change. Through his beadwork, Sunday communicates profound messages, encourages resilience, and fosters cultural understanding. His upcoming solo exhibition in New York presents an opportunity to witness his captivating three-dimensional artworks that showcase his remarkable talent and visionary approach. By supporting artists like Sunday, we contribute to a more diverse and inclusive art world, where voices from different backgrounds can thrive and make a meaningful impact.

The Eagle


Dimension : 30 x 20 inches

Wingspan: 42 inches

Medium: recycle materials/ beads

This piece portrays the characteristics of great visionary people . The eagle sculpture was rendered in a landing motion showing the eagle that has the ability and capacity to fly higher again . it is highly relevant to what I had experienced in the past and my transition from Africa to America.

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