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Artist, writer and curator

- By Vivienne Rowland

Professor Raimi Gbadamosi joined Wits in February 2012. Since then, he has managed to establish himself as one of the most interesting figures around campus, an academic to be reckoned with and as an advocate for the academics by being elected as President of the Academic Staff Association of Wits University. 

“I encourage my students to ask questions. About themselves, about the world, everything – especially histories and the arts. My teachings are built on the self and principles and ideas inspired by it,” says Gbadamosi.

A British citizen, he is an artist, writer and curator who received his Doctorate in Fine Art from the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art, the title of his PhD thesis being The use of black people in British advertising or a man should not be judged by the colour of his shirt.

He has exhibited all over the globe including Ireland, Egypt, London, Spain and India. His work relates to, among other things, issues of race, especially albinism, a condition he lives with.

“I am an artist, I am a neo-conceptualist, I make work of things that deal with the question of race, language and power, those are the three things that push me forward,” he explains.

Currently Gbadamosi lectures third, fourth year and PhD students in the Wits School of Arts and says that he believes that people should be able to engage with the arts and accessible to everyone. 

“I believe that arts should not be the realm of the few, but there for everyone to engage with,” he says.

“I have taught quite a few of arts hopefuls, but I do not want to have to tell them that only a few of them will make it in the arts. We have a responsibility to ensure that they all stand an equal chance of becoming known and our arts education should provide our students with what it takes,” he says.

He says that he likes to provide his students with the framework for their own practice: “There is more to leading young people than standing up in a classroom.”

For someone so entwined and whose life is irrevocably interspersed with the arts and expression of ideas, it is surprising that he does not engage with social media – at all. “I don’t have a Facebook page or a social media account. I don’t believe in it! I engage differently with the world,” he explains.

He does however have a website – but reproduction of the information is strictly prohibited… Read more about Gbadamosi here.