Alimi Adewale was born in May 8th 1974 in Lagos to Kolawole and Iyabo Alimi , In 1984 the family moved to Abeokuta as a result of his father work as an engineer, in 1986 his family moved again to Ibadan and finally moved back to Lagos in 1990. Alimi Adewale studied mechanical engineering in Ilorin, Nigeria. Interest in art that spur going to exhibitions developed his interest in art and after graduating he enrolls as an apprentice under Kamoru Sarumi in the Yaba area of Lagos.
Since the late 2002, Alimi has used painting and drawing to explore and personalize urban issues allude to the lives of everyday city people, which are often neglected in the drive toward excessive urbanization, rapid modern development and the growing global economy. Alimi explaining: “The people the lifestyle, the spirit and the energy. Las Gidi as Lagos is called by Nigerians in diaspora is a city with endless possibilities and there’s plenty to be inspired from in a city of 16 million everyday faces tightly packed inhabitants”. Alimi’s work investigates and challenges contemporary belief systems in Nigeria, and dissects the tensions and uncertainties at the heart of human experience.
Alimi developed his interest in exploring the “unacceptable idea” of Nudes as a young man after school. Models on runway, The Anorexics and Bulimics, the concept of the African fattening room all these are intriguing to the young Alimi . From the age of twenty, he has been making drawings on women. All these experiences served to establish the difficulties he perceived in reconciling the idea of Nudity in Africa.
At Kamoru Studio, Alimi understands of the distinction between painting and sculpture changed significantly, and not until 18 years later he began work on some of his sculptural series. The ‘Heads’ created in 2014 combined the aesthetics of minimalism with Alimi’s observation that, “Art should be pushed beyond the traditional material. He employed mirror finish stainless steel for this first sculptural project .
During the compulsory national youth service [NYSC] scheme he was posted to Enugu in 2002, Whilst in Enugu, Alimi visited Nsukka and IMT the two art schools in Enugu meeting art lecturers and students and furthering his understanding of concepts in art practice. Alimi joined the Quintessence gallery in 2004 while working at night as an artist, he worked with several firms such as Wangonet, Accenture and Vetiva Capital as IT Developer and Analyst during the day. He became a fulltime Artist in 2009 after resigning from his day job.
He had Sublime Exhibition at Quintessence Gallery in 2011 commonly acknowledged to have been the launching point for Alimi where he exhibited the Carnival, Living Spaces and Urban Congestion series which is abundant in major collector’s arsenal. Alimi describes this Series as a means of “pinning down and document an era in this city which is eroding by excessive infrastructure development”, and explains they provided a solution to our problems because to know where we are going we have to know where we are coming from. It has become one of the artist’s most prolific and recognisable series.
In 2013 Alimi began work on ‘Who is Afraid of Nudes, arguably his most famous series. Painting the African woman subjugation, her pain, joy, beauty. He said these women are my country, my country pain, sorrows, the huge natural resources yet squalor. So who is afraid to challenge conventions in Nigeria? Since his involvement in ‘[Dis]placement’ in 2012 a two man show with Richardson Ovievbo, curatorial projects have remained important to the artist.
Alimi states: “My environment is the datum for my work the, An artist works are the reflection of the Artist Life”, Alimi has continued over the last decade to explore the “big issues” of “Urban Migration, Politics, City Life, Beauty and Nature.” In 2013, he unveiled the spectacular, ‘Naked Butterflies (2013) an online Art exhibition the first of its kind in Africa, the show was well received by the Art enthusiasts who have challenges attending exhibitions as a result of traffic congestion in the city . The show allows Art Lovers to enjoy and acquire works in the confine of their homes.
In 2012 Alimi exhibited Anonymous a charity exhibition for the EbunOluwa Foundation founded by Chief Mrs. Aino Ternstedt Oni-Okpaku. The foundation is a humanitarian organization and has been offering hope in various homes and centers. The home also provides assistance to abandoned children who are physically and mentally challenged.
Alimi lives and works in Lagos and Abeokuta.