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YABA Art School

”Yaba College of Technology” as it is popularly known today started as a Technical Institute which succeeded the Yaba Higher College in October, 1947. Following the recommendation of the Elliot Commission on higher education in West Africa, then students of the Higher College were absorbed to become the pioneering students of the University of Ibadan; the first university in the country.

At its foundation, the Department of Art and Printing was part of the technical Institute, Yaba. It was started in 1952, by a British expatriate; Mr. Paul Mount. At that time in the nation, art teaching in schools was almost non-existent and public awareness to a department committed to the advancement of art and aesthetics was very low. Not until 1955 did defined courses in art and printing commenced.

In 1962, the celebrated Nigerian artist and pioneer Zarianist, Professor Yusuf A. Grillo joined the art department.

Between 1981 and 1985, the old Department of Art and Printing metamorphosed into a school (Faculty) and was named School of Art and Printing in 1981. In 1986, it was renamed School of Art, Design and Printing Technology. From this faculty emerged four departments, the Fine Art Development, Industrial Design Department, Printing Technology Department and Graphic Design Department. The School still maintains all four departments.

The Yaba Art School is distinct for its art form and style which is done in narrative, descriptive, almost accurate photo-graphic-realism. The foremost sets of artists to graduate from the instutituion in the 50s and 60s and thus pioneer the art school include Agbo Folarin, Isiaka Osunde, andAbayomi Barber. Many of them furthered their education abroad and ultimately achieved national prominence. Their contributions lay in precise photographic realism.

Other later artists to adopt the Yaba style and thus fall under the school include: Kolade Oshinowo (who actually schooled in Zaria, but lectured at the Yaba College of Technology for over 25 years and at some point headed the Department of Arts), Mike Omoighe, Gbenga Offo, Tayo Quaye etc. There are numerous other artists who earned their initial diplomas from ”Yaba Tech.” or concluded their degrees at the institution.

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