Nina Fabunmi

Fabunmi’s interest in art began as a child, she developed her artistic skills just as she learned how to read and write but realized it was a gift when she noticed that her peers could not draw like she could. At six, she would make small drawings and render them with colored pencils. Her late dad had a spot on the wall of his studio where he pinned up all her work. He was an architect and in her sheltered upbringing, his tools of creativity and his artistic influence surrounded her. As a teenager, art became her sanctuary, she wrote poetry, made drawings, paintings, collage, mosaic and fabric designs with tie-dye and batik. Upon her high school graduation, she received a Proficiency Certificate in Fine Art.

Dissuaded by her parents for the lack of faith that a career as an Artist could earn her a comfortable living, she ended up with a Bachelor of Science degree in Estate Management also called Real Estate. Her Department was in the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management that also housed the Fine Art department. This posed as a great advantage to her as she spent her free time in the Fine Art studios.

After her graduation, she decided to pursue her passion by embarking on a Masters in Fine Art. She knew that if she ever had to go back to school it would be on her own terms. She got on the Internet and searched for art schools abroad and that was when she discovered the Academy of Art. She made contact with the school, but at that time, could not afford the fees so she put it on hold and faced her corporate career.

Her only work experience in Real Estate was six months of Industrial Training. She then ventured into broadcasting, banking and telecommunications, moving from industry to industry in search for what she always had; a fulfilling career. She never stopped drawing and painting. She later got introduced to a gallery owner who purchased five of her watercolor paintings and was pleasantly surprised. In that same year, she made her first oil painting. She would paint and sell one- on- one to those who were privy to seeing her work as it was like a hobby. The gallery owner introduced her to art associations in Nigeria, of which she eventually became a member. Fabunmi slowly integrated herself into the art world in Nigeria and had her first art exhibition in 2008. Since then she had been exhibiting and selling her works while running a regular 8-5 job.

In 2011, Fabunmi was commissioned to supply art works to an establishment in Lagos Nigeria. This was the break she had been looking for and it paid her enough to pick up her dream of an MFA in Fine Art painting at the Academy Of Art University.

Fabunmi is now has an MFA in Painting from the Academy of Art University (AAU) in San Francisco. She graduated with distinction and was highly recommended for a teaching position. She is currently a part time member of the faculty at the AAU, has won several art awards and has been published in renowned art magazines such as the American Art Collector, Southwest Art Magazine, Juztapoz Magazine and Artist Portfolio Magazine.  Her work has been shown in Africa, Europe and America. Fabunmi is versatile in portraiture, figures and landscapes and is especially known for her emotionally charged expressive technique, which she achieves with the use of a palette knife. Her work has been shown in prestigious places like the California State Building, UCSF Women’s Health Center and the Museum of the African Diaspora through the 3.9 Art Collective, an art organization to which she belongs. She is a member of the Portrait Society of America and California Art Club. Her paintings are also shown at Studio Gallery and Gallery 1317 in San Francisco, and Gallery Guichard in Chicago, Illinois.


American Art Collector
Selected for Portrait Artist Directory

American Art Collector
Selected for Portrait Artist Directory

Jerry’s Self Portrait Contest

Society for Nigerian Artists (SNA)
Distinguished Artist Award

Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series
Regional Finalist

Creative Quarterly 37 (CQ 37)

Artist Portfolio Magazine
Best of the Show, Portraits Issue 19

Academy Of Art University
President’s Honor, Academic Achievement Award (Twice)

Bold Brush
Best of the Show, October

Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series
Regional Finalist

Turner Painting Contest
2 Honorable Mentions

Federal Government Girls College
Proficiency Award, Best Student in Fine Art, Benin City

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Image featured on this page: Nina Fabunmi “Deep in a Man,” Oil on Canvas, 40×30 Inches, 2014

Nina Fabunmi "Men Men Men"

Nina Fabunmi “Men Men Men,” oil on canvas, 30×40 inches, 2016

Nina Fabunmi "East Coast Deli"

Nina Fabunmi “East Coast Deli,” oil on canvas, 30×40 Inches, 2016

Nina Fabunmi "Two Moons and a Man,"

Nina Fabunmi “Two Moons and a Man,” Oil on Canvas, 30×40 Inches, 2016

Nina Fabunmi "Purple Rain"

Nina Fabunmi “Purple Rain,” oil on canvas, 40×30 Inches




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