|Birth||19 October 1980, Ilorin|
Laolu (Olaolu) Isaac Senbanjo also known as “Laolu NYC” born October 19, 1980 is a Nigerian visual artist, musician, singer/songwriter and human rights attorney. Born and raised in Ilorin, Kwara state, Nigeria by Yoruba parents. His father was a lawyer and his mother a nurse. Laolu grew up performing in his church’s choir. While in School he had a music group called, “Light and Fire” and they would perform original songs and covers. Laolu worked as a Human Rights Attorney with the Nigerian Human Rights Commission prior to becoming a full time Artist.
Laolu moved to Brooklyn, NY in August 2013 to pursue his art career. His style of art is called “Afromysterics”, meaning the mystery of the African thought pattern. His art is incredibly detailed and is recognizable by his use of charcoal and his distinct patterns with stories woven throughout.
Laolu is a world musical artist that draws his influences from Fela Kuti, Sade, Bob Marley, and King Sunny Ade. He blends singing in his native Yoruba and often translating in English the Yoruba folks songs, proverbs and his oriki that he sings. In September 2014 he opened for Tony Allen (the creator of Afrobeat) at SOB’s in New York City, NY with his band Laolu and the Afromysterics. His band Laolu and the Afromysterics performed at SXSW 2015 in Austin, TX.
In December 2014 he had three separate shows at Art Basel Miami. In June 2015 Laolu’s new mantra became “everything is my canvas” which transformed his artistic style when he began painting on everything from shoes, to jackets, and human beings. Creator of the Sacred Art of the Ori Ritual that he performed in Beyonce’s Visual Album, Lemonade. Laolu worked as a Human Rights Attorney with the Nigerian Human Rights Commission prior to becoming a full time Artist.
In February 2016 he was part of Equinox Fitness’ “Committed” campaign. Nike named him “Master of Air” in March 2016 where they collaborated on a tee shirt collection for Nike’s Air Max Con 2016. Laolu and his Sacred Art of the Ori Ritual was featured in South African DJ Black Coffee’s music video “Come with me.” May 2016 his exhibit “Sounds of Africa” opened at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, CA in collaboration with BET. Laolu performed a live art installation featuring three dancers and live musicians at Brooklyn Museum in September 2016 called, “Creation as a Ritual: Performing Disguise.” Kenneth Cole and Laolu collaborated on a #MyStepsWill Campaign in October 2016.
Laolu gave a TED talk at TED 2017 Conference in April 2017 in Vancouver, Canada and received a standing ovation. He is the first Nigerian to give a TED Talk at TED Conference.