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Photo by: David Andrako

We’re honored to work with musicians from around the world who all bring their unique sounds and musical stylings to the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. Yet many of these musicians have talents that extend beyond music, and one of these talented artists is Laolu NYC, a Nigerian-born artist, musician, and activist. On Saturday, July 8, Laolu performed at the Bandshell followed by Chop and Quench and Chronixx. He opened the night with a multi-faceted performance, performing with his band Afromysterics on stage, then engaging in the Sacred Art of the Ori Ritual (body-painting). After his performance, fans and concert goers lined up to get their body and face painted by Laolu, who made each design unique for each individual. This act truly encompasses his motto: “Everything is my Canvas.”

Throughout the week leading up to his performance, Laolu worked on an original painting, commissioned by BRIC and the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival that would encompass the music and art scene at the Bandshell. Over the course of several days, Laolu and his team created and painted the piece, which is now on display by the BRIC Info Tent at the Bandshell.

Based in Brooklyn since 2013, Laolu worked to build his reputation within the NY art scene, and his big break came when his artwork was featured in Beyonce’s acclaimed Lemonade videos. Although this was a huge step in his career, his inspiration and artistic style is always rooted in his heritage: being born and raised in Ilorin, Nigeria to Yoruba parents. Laolu puts his mark on everything from canvas to shoes, from walls and buildings to clothing, and even the body.  A strong advocate of holding onto your culture, Laolu finds a way to marry his modern detailed and ornate style with his Yoruba heritage as one of the leaders in Afrofuturism Art. His preferred medium is charcoal because it’s something as natural as life and death, but he also likes to dabble in acrylics, inks, and wood.

Besides Beyonce, Laolu has collaborated with many other brands and people like: Equinox Fitness, Nike, Kenneth Cole, Alicia Keys, Taraji Henson, Jidenna, Angelique Kidjo, Black Coffee, Swizz Beatz, Danielle Brooks, Vice, Usher, Seun Kuti, Davido, Sound Sultan, and Tony Allen just to name a few. And we’re proud to display his newest work at the Bandshell! So the next time you are at the Bandshell come check out an original piece made by Laolu, specifically for the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. It will be there all summer long!