The Essential Jimo Akolo: A Retrospective of Drawings and Paintings

kó Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
15 Feb 2022 - 12 Mar 2022

Timo Akolo, Test of Manhood (Sharo), Detail, 1972.

Timo Akolo, Test of Manhood (Sharo), Detail, 1972.

kó Gallery is very delighted to present The Essential Jimo Akolo: A Retrospective of Drawings and Paintings from 1961 to 2015. For the first time in Lagos, kó will be presenting a rare Zaria Art School graduate of 1961, a member of the Zaria Art Society.

Considered by some scholars as a rebel of the “rebels”. Over thirty-one drawings and paintings of the artist’s collection will be featured. The exhibition also has works loaned from some private collectors in Nigeria that are also included in this show. In addition, images of his early works in the collection of Bristol Museum, the University of Sussex, in Britain, and Yemisi Shyllon Museum Nigeria will be included in the well-illustrated catalogue to give the art community a rare glimpse into the artist’s creative oeuvre and his unspoken place on the stage of contemporary Nigerian art.


Jimo Akolo (b. 1935) Jimo Akolo is a retired professor of art education who combined art teaching, administration, and a vibrant art career like any of his contemporaries.

Born in Egbe, Kogi State, Nigeria, Jimo Bola Akolo’s artworks focus on indigenous cultural traditions, and the depiction of everyday life. Working predominantly as a painter, Akolo’s work is influenced by designs and patterns reminiscent of Hausa architecture and art. Renowned for his unwavering adherence to the principles of individual artistic freedom, Akolo deeply engages with the enchanting Zaria city scenery, landscapes and its people with refreshing aesthetic, and philosophical perspective. Other subjects of interest are horse riders at festivals, and at war, festive dancers, sportsmen, all rendered in loose brushstrokes, yet intense colours. His drawings are expressed in strong and bold contemplative lines.

Jimo Akolo studied under Dennis Duerden, an education officer in the Nigerian Colonial Service at Keffi Government College. During this period, he started painting and was included in the 1956 exhibition Keffi Boys at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Jimo attended the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology, and was a founding member of the Zaria Art Society, along with Yusuf Grillo, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Demas Nwoko, Uche Okeke. He later studied at the Hornsey College of Art in London, and Indiana State University in Bloomington. In 1966, he joined the faculty at Ahmadu Bello University where he taught for over three decades.

Akolo received Nigeria’s national Cultural Trophy and has participated in various exhibitions at the Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery (London), National Gallery of Art (Nigeria), Nigerian Art Council, second Havana Biennial (Cuba), Ohio State University Annual Symposium on African and West (USA) among others. Professor Jerry Buhari of the Department of Fine Art, Ahmadu Bello University is the curator of the exhibition.




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