Ayokunle Odeleye



About the Artist

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.