Laolu Senbanjo Visits PDS 8th Grade Portrait Drawing Class

This week, the Princeton Day School's 8th Grade Portrait Drawing Elective class met virtually with artist Laolu Senbanjo, who is the "Artist In Focus" for the class as selected by MS Art teacher Deva Watson. Laolu is a Nigerian artist who pursued his passion for art in New York City after starting a career as a human rights attorney in Nigeria.

A guiding principle of Laolu's art philosophy is that "everything is (his) canvas" and he is best known for his work using the human body as a canvas, including providing visual art for Beyoncé's album "Lemonade." Laolu describes, "It is not the white paint on the skin. The melanin in the skin shines through like fire. The skin becomes the paint and it is beautiful."

During the virtual visit with the PDS 8th grade art students, Laolu spoke of his process, the deeper meanings in his work "Dreamscape", working with Beyoncé, his Nigerian identity, being black in America, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ms. Watson remarked, "Laolu had such an in-depth conversation with our kids about race, gender and his art. He named things in a personal way that was warm, genuine and sincere so that our 8th graders could begin to explore Blackness, B.L.M. and current social justice issues in America. The kids were receptive and curious and it is clear that they really want places to explore these topics."  

Images (from top): Laolu drawing, from NBC News feature; screenshot of Laolu visiting with PDS students; also from NBC, Laolu with examples of art (NBC news feature found here)

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