His creative tentacles is not limited to sculpture, Abayomi Barber is also a painter who formulated his own classical canon of surrealism and made the paintings indigenous in both form and concept.
Born in Ile Ife, Osun State, Nigeria 90 years ago, Abayomi Barber has become a living legend. His artistic training spanned a brief stint at the present day Yaba College of Technology, Lagos before travelling to England where he attended the Central School of Art and Crafts.
He worked with many famous artists including Mark Manchini at the latter's studio in Wimbledon. He later worked with Oscar Nemon at the Priory Studio at the Fairy Court, Saint James Palace.
Barber returned to Nigeria in 1971 and was employed by the University of Lagos where he later managed the Center for Cultural Studies. He started an informal art school later known as the "Abayomi Barber School" where young and talented artists were nurtured in naturalistic and surrealistic style. Some of the apprentices of the School later emerged as some of the best contemporary Nigerian artists of the 20th Century.
Abayomi Barber’s works have been in high demand ever since he returned to Nigeria because of his excellent mastery of both sculpture and painting techniques. His notable commissions include the bronze busts of the late Ooni of Ile Ife- Oba Adesoji Aderemi, General Murtala Mohammed, former Head of State, Nigeria and a portrait painting of President Shehu Shagari, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is in the collection of the National Gallery.
An award winning artist, Barber has many of his works in reputable institutions and homes of discerning collectors.