Omooba Yemisi Shyllon’s profile
He is a Prince of Ake in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He hails from the Sogbulu and Ogunfayo lineage of the Lararun ruling house of Ake in Egbaland. Prince Shyllon is also a legal practitioner, chartered engineer, chartered marketer and a chartered stockbroker/investment analyst with business interests covering all his academic and professional disciplines. He is widely acknowledged to own the most balanced art collection with over 7,000 artworks of sculpture, painting and other media, as well as over 55,000 photographic shots of Nigeria’s fast disappearing cultural festivals.
His collection is put at well over 6,000 pieces of artworks encompassing “All the five areas of Nigerian/African art, ranging from traditional and neo-traditional African art, contemporary painting and sculptures” under an organisation known as OYASAF, acronym for Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation. He annually sponsors scholars, curators and art historians from outside Nigeria to visit and study his collection, interacts with Nigerian artists and other art collectors, and promotes research into Nigerian culture, including other art forms of interest to scholars. He is extensively recognised as the leading advocate of Nigerian art and culture. Through his multifaceted non-profit organisation (OYASAF), which was founded in 2008, Shyllon has commenced the funding and establishment of Nigeria’s first privately funded museum with the Pan-Atlantic University, Lekki, Lagos, worth over N3 billion.
Shyllon started collecting art as an undergraduate in 1975, using savings from his scholarship. Today, his collection is a comprehensive record that can easily function as an historical record of Nigerian art. His collections comprise of artworks from other African countries like Togo, South Africa, Senegal, Ghana and Cameroon. He believes that by collecting art, he is safeguarding Nigerian cultural heritage.
Shyllon is a fellow of many professional bodies within and outside Nigeria, including the Institute of Directors, Nigerian Institute of Management and Nigerian Society of Engineers.
He holds an honorary doctor of letters (D.Litt) degree from the University of Port Harcourt. He is an entrepreneur with considerable past and contemporary boardroom experience. He has served as a member of the National Heritage Council and Endowment for the Arts in Nigeria. So far, his multifaceted non-profit organisation (OYASAF) has sponsored 17 fellows from the U.S., Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. He is the sole sponsor of the yearly University of Lagos/OYASAF Art Entrepreneurship Workshop, aimed at encouraging and training Nigeria’s young and budding artists in art entrepreneurship, materials and methods. His foundation has also sponsored drawing competitions among schools in Nigeria.
Shyllon is a joint author of a 200-page art coffee-table book among other publications and is one of the few licensed Nigerian art auctioneers. His foundation has donated many life-size sculptural monuments to public places and institutions in Nigeria, notably among which are, the 18 life-size sculptural works of art to the Freedom Park, Lagos, and significant monuments to the Universities of Lagos and Ibadan. He is a member of the board of University of Ibadan Advancement Centre.
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