Ayokunle Odeleye has been working as a professional sculptor and arts educator for the past thirty eight years. He received a Bachelors Degree in Art Education from Howard University in 1973 and a Masters Degree in sculpture from Howard University in 1975. He has taught art at Dunbar High School, The Duke Ellington School for the Arts and Howard University in Washington D.C., and at Woodland Middle School, Spelman College and Georgia State University in Atlanta. Currently he is a senior Professor of Art at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia where he has been teaching for the past twenty two years.
He is the owner, primary designer and fabricator of Odeleye Sculpture Studios in Stone Mountain Georgia. This studio specializes in the creation of large scale sculptures for public spaces in a variety of media. He has created sculptures for cities across the United States from Atlanta to Alaska, many of which have historic significance. The studio also creates finely crafted works of sculpture in a variety of hardwoods and mixed media.
Ayokunle recently created a stainless steel and bronze sculpture for the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, to be placed at the intersection of Cascade Rd. and Benjamin Mays Blvd. The sculpture which also functions as a working sundial and light fixture includes elements designed to honor significant individuals from the Cascade Road community who’s scholarship and creativity has impacted Atlanta and beyond.
In November of 2012 the Museum of Contemporary Art in Atlanta honored
Ayokunle with a Retrospective Exhibition of drawings, photographs and models of his work highlighting thirty two years of excellence in the field of Public Art.
As a professional sculptor my artistic passion for the past thirty three years has manifested itself through my interest in the field of Public Art. I found this phenomena, structured in a competitive process which requires artists to design large scale works that directly address specific aspects of a public space, to capture my imagination and be more conducive to my personality, artistic goals and high level of technical proficiency. Early in my artistic career I found a strong preference for Public Arts’ competitive process over more traditional gallery representation.
These past thirty three years have given me an understanding of my work as a type of architecture of community identity. Through a process of collaboration with community representatives, architects, engineers and arts administrators, I create site specific, interactive sculptures that define, energize and humanize urban environments. Consistent with this activity I have researched, written and lectured widely on the subject as well as designed and fabricated numerous monumental sculptures for communities across the United States from Atlanta to Alaska.
My many years of involvement in the field of Public Art can be contributed to two specific areas of interest to me. First, in terms of legacy, the creation of monumental sculptures commissioned and owned by public institutions, provides a long term caretaker for my artistic work and offers some promise for the sculpture to remain in the public domain far beyond my temporary presence on this earth. The work, in other words, provides a footprint of historical evidence of my life’s existence and speaks to my creative interest and ability. I liken this phenomena to that of the great ancient sculptors of Egypt and other civilizations who fashioned monumental images in stone that not only defined the power, creativity and greatness of the commissioning body but also the ability and greatness of the artist who carved the images. Secondly, creating an iconic work of sculpture through a highly competitive process that involves collaboration with a variety of stakeholders in an effort to define the history and character of the site, mark its boundary and communicate community aspirations through tangible form, is a remarkable and extremely satisfying achievement to me.
My studio practice, which at its core involves a work esthetic that demands long hours of daily creative labor in my metal fabrication or wood studio, draws it’s influence from the many great teachers and mentors who demanded discipline, persistence, personal responsibility, and creative thinking of me. I find great joy and challenge in the conceptual development, design and physical imposition of my will onto tenacious materials resulting in the creation of unique three dimensional forms of artistic expression.
I have honed this passion for creating monumental sculpture into finely tuned studio practices that involve research, collaboration, design, fabrication and scholarship, resulting in site specific works of art that fulfill my creative passions, document my existence and serve as contemporary architectural markers of community identity.
1989-2013 PROFESSOR OF ART (Tenured)
Kennesaw State University
Department of Art, Kennesaw, Georgia. Instruct courses in 3-dimensional design, African American art history, art appreciation, drawing, all levels of sculpture; participate in faculty exhibitions; serve on departmental, school and university wide committees.
- 2011-1989 Kennesaw State University, annual Faculty Exhibition, Kennesaw, Ga. 30088
- 2005 Howard University, “Eight Decades of Art at Howard University” Washington, D.C.
- 2000 Savannah State University, Savannah, Ga., Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition
- 2000 - 2005 Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, Masters of Their Craft Exhibition
- 1999 Marietta Museum of Art, Marietta, Georgia
- 1998 Harriet Tubman Museum, Macon Georgia
- 1995 Human Arts Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
- 1994 Camille Love Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
- 1993 The November Show, Atlanta, Georgia
- 1993 Gertrude Herbert Institute, Augusta, Georgia (Works by faculty from the university system)
- 1993 Tangeman Gallery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 1992 Mcintosh Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia
- 1990 Chastain Art Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia (works in wood)
- 1989 Theatre Art Galleries, High Point, North Carolina
- 1988 North Art Center Gallery, Dunwoody, Georgia
- 1985-91 Nexus Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, Georgia
- 1984-86 Arts Festival of Atlanta (Site sculpture in ‘84 – Group wood exhibit in ‘86)
- 1983-86 Spelman College, Atlanta Georgia (Faculty Exhibits)
- 2012 Retropsective Exhibition/ Thirty Two Years of Public Art/ Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, Ga.
- 1996 Georgia State Council for the Art's Carriage Works Gallery, Atlanta, Ga.
- 1993 Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Ga. (Ten-year retrospective exhibition)
- 1991 Beecher Institute, Savannah, Ga. (Permanent Collection)
- 1984 Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library (Ten-year retrospective exhibition)
- 1983 James A. Porter Gallery, Howard University, Washington, D.C. (Permanent Collection)
Public Art Commissions and Grants (Partial Listing)
- 2012 Commission, City of Atlanta, Office of Cultural Affairs
To create a 16ft.h X 8ft.L stainless steel and bronze sculpture for the Cascade Road community in Atlanta, Ga. (Work in Progress))
- 2010 Commission, City of Aurora, Art In Public Places
To create a 32ft.L X 7ft.h stainless steel sculpture for the front facade of Aurora Municipal Court Facility in Aurora,
Colorado. (Work in Progress)
- 2008 Commission, City of Wilmington, NC
To create six sixteen feet tall bronze sculptural elements as part of a memorial for the City of Wilmington, North Carolina. The memorial commemorates a historic event in the history of Wilmington.
- 2005-2007 Commission, Rockland County Art In Public Places Program
To create two 16ft.h stainless steel free standing sculptures for a park in the city of Spring Valley, New York.
- 2004-2005 Commission, Alaska State Council on the Arts
To create a 14ft.h X14ft.w wall relief wood and mixed media wall relief sculpture for the Alaska Psychiatric Institute and Recovery Center in Anchorage, Alaska.
- 2003 Commission, Prince George’s County Public Art Program
To create three stainless steel free standing sculptures for the Bunker Hill Fire Station in Brentwood, Maryland.
- 2002 Commission, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport
To create a mixed media wood relief sculpture for the airport’s international Concourse. Atlanta, Georgia.
- 2001 Commission, St. Petersburg Bureau of Cultural Affairs
To create three abstract figurative stainless steel sculptures for the Wildwood Recreation Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.
- 2000 Commission, Fulton County Arts Council
To create two 5ft.h X 12ft.L stainless steel wall relief sculptures for the Adams Park Library in Atlanta, Georgia.
- 1999 Commission /Grant Award, Fulton County Arts Council
To work with Magnet Arts High School Students at North Springs High School to create a large permanent wood relief sculpture for the school. Atlanta, Georgia
- 1997 Commission, Clayton College and State University
To work with a college design class in creating a design for a14ft. stainless steel sculpture with stainless steel seating for the college's campus. Morrow, Georgia.
- 1996/97 Commission, City of Richmond Public Art Commission
To create three 6'h x 6 w' carved figurative wood relief panels for the courthouse lobby. Richmond, Virginia.
- 1996 Commission, Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games
To create a monumental bronze sculpture for an Olympic stadium community in Atlanta, Georgia in conjunction with the 1996 Olympic Games.
- 1995 COMMISSION, Morehouse College
To design and carve a ceremonial throne / chair to be utilized by the President of Morehouse College during college ceremonies. Atlanta, Georgia
- 1995 COMMISSION, Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority
To create a 14ft.H x 18ft. L bronze sculpture for a newly built light rail station in Dallas, Texas.
- 1994 COMMISSION, City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs
To create a 14' h stainless steel sculpture for a park in the Martin Luther King historic district. Atlanta Georgia
- 1992 COMMISSION, Martin Luther King Memorial Commission of Pensacola Florida
To create a bronze portrait bust of Dr. King for an out-door park plaza in Pensacola, Florida.
- 1990 COMMISSION, Georgia State Council for the Arts
To carve a wood relief sculpture for Spelman College. Atlanta, Georgia
- 1980 COMMISSION, Baltimore Public School System
To design and fabricate a monumental steel sculpture for The Boys High City College High School in Baltimore, Maryland
- 1975 Master of Fine Arts, Howard University, Washington, D.C. (Major-Sculpture)
- 1973 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Howard University, Washington. D.C. (Major-Art Education/Minor-Sculpture)
- 1969 Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. Virginia