Yisa Akinbolaji

Past president/Chair, Membership

and CFI Convenor Coordinator

Yisa Akinbolaji is a Winnipeg full-time mixed-media artist. He has extensively engaged in numerous solo and group art exhibitions (local and international) for more than twenty five years. Yisa a Canadian citizen was featured on the cover of Art Business News, New York, in November 2011 for his distinctive painting technique. His dexterity and uncompromising creative freedom as registered in his colour usage has earned him several commissioned projects in paintings and wall mosaic.

Yisa has lived and practiced art in Winnipeg, Canada since 1997. Yisa was elected to the membership of Manitoba Society of Artists in 2000, becoming its President in 2001 at the 100th Anniversary and serving until 2003. Before immigrating to Canada in 1997, Yisa Akinbolaji was recognized as a leading Nigerian artist with his work and biography included in Nigerian Artists: A Who's Who and Bibliography (1993) compiled and edited by Bernice Kelly and Janet L. Stanley of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington. D.C. Yisa has also been featured in live radio and television art events. Between 1988 and 1997, Yisa taught Fine Art at the Lagos State Model College, Badore. In 1988 and 1989 he was adjunct Drawing and Painting Instructor at the Lagos State College of Education, Ijanikin.

In 1993, Yisa began to explore a new technique. This technique he further developed while obtaining his M.F.A. in Visual Arts from the University of North Dakota. At UND, where he graduated with distinction, Yisa studied under the supervision of Professor Arthur Jones(Chair), Professor Kim Fink and Prof. Brian Paulsen. Yisa also obtained a Diploma in Advertising Art (Graphic Design) from Red River College, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

For more about the artist, Yisa Akinbolaji: www.yisagallery.com


Beatrice Watson

Advisory Board Member

Bola Olorundare is the president and founder of Ariya Afrika. She is a Winnipeg  accomplished storyteller, actress, dancer and teacher. She will have you mesmerized with her stories of far-away places and her unique cast of human and animal characters. She will fill you with the rich lessons of Africa through traditional stories generous in history and meaning. With a background in African tales and dance as well as theatre arts, Bola graduated from the University College of Education in Nigeria where she found herself performing with Ajoma Cultural Touring Group. Bola has been involved with many Manitoba and Canadian events including Fusion Dance Theatre Acts, Vision Performing Arts, Folklorama, Pan Am Games, Children’s Festival and the 2002 Teddy Bearís Picnic. She is also a member of Stone Soup Storytellers Winnipeg and is the founder and choreographer of the Ariya Afrika Cultural Group. Bola has been featured on CBC Radio, Winnipeg.

Bola Olorundare


Dr. Sunday Olukoju

President, CFI

Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju, a man of many parts is a university tutor, a college advisor/counselor, a community newspaper correspondent, the president of Nigeria-Canada Congress of Manitoba and as well, a member of the pastoral team of Immanuel Fellowship where he gives strong leadership to the church’s collaboration that has birthed two evangelistic movies. He also serves on the board of Manitoba Association of Multicultural Education (MAME); and Oka Descendants Union of North America. Sunday Akin Olukoju is the president of the Winnipeg-based Canadian Center for Global Studies. He is the author of "Hope on the Horizon: From Celebration of Stupidity to Celebration of Excellence"; and "The Finest Wine". The latter has been adapted into a movie. He has also presented academic papers at major conferences in Canada, the US, Switzerland and Mexico.

Sunday obtained his Master degree in International Law and Diplomacy, University of Lagos; and another Master degree in Educational Studies, Providence Theological Seminary, Canada. Dr. Olukoju received his Ph.D. from Walden University, US. Some of Dr. Olukoju's areas of research interests include migration and multiculturalism; as well as the relationship between the global South and North.

Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju is happily married to Rev (Dr.) Deborah Olukoju, and they are blessed with two charming sons.

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Creative Foundation Board of Directors

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Full bio of the following board members coming . . .

Barb Dixon (Advisory Board and Life Mentor, CFI)

Afeez Ismail (Treasurer) 

David Fatimehin 

Malika Taraud

Larry Partap (Life Mentor, CFI)

Xiaowei Qin (Director of Finance)

Carlene Kurdziel

Carlene Kurdziel currently serves on the board as the acting secretary of Creative Foundation Inc. She is a professional copywriter creating content and documents for various businesses locally and globally. She is passionate about pursuing knowledge, with a desire to instil a sense of artistry and creative thinking into the youth. When Carlene is not working, she enjoys biking, spending time outdoors, reading, and loves travelling. Her passion is to use her creative and communicative skill-sets to implement CFI's new strategies and projects between Winnipeg professionals and the youth who deserve to have a voice.

Garry Green

Garry Green is Winnipeg based entrepreneur and small business owner. He holds degrees from Red River College in Carpentry and Graphic Arts. Garry has been operating his store, Framing & Art Centre, for twenty years as a retail custom picture framer, gallery and gift shop. Firmly rooted in the local arts scene, Garry has been representing almost exclusively Manitoba based artists and artisans with the goal of connecting artists to art buyers within their own community. In joining the board of Creative Foundation, Garry hopes his knowledge and passion for the arts will be an asset towards inspiring young people in the community to explore and develop their creative abilities. http://meadowood.framingartcentre.ca

Beatrice Watson is a recipient of EIRA “BABS” Friesen Award. Beatrice is a mother of two creative daughters, Make and Bahia Watson. She received her BA from the University of Manitoba. She works for the Government of Manitoba at the Human Rights Commission where she is the Outreach Liaison Officer and Intake Officer. She is passionate about equality, justice and diversity issues.

Her work as a freelance journalist has appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press, London Free Press, Herizon Magazine, the Toronto Sun and in the book "Spider Women-A Tapestry of Creativity & Healing." She has been heard locally on CBC Radio.

Beatrice is a founding member of the Selkirk Co-op Abuse Against Women and serves as a volunteer mediator with the Manitoba Justice Centre and a volunteer Peer Counsellor at the Fort Garry Women's Resource Centre where she is on the Board. She has co-chaired the Manitoba Anti-Poverty Organization.

Beatrice has devoted both her working and personal life to ensuring peace, equality and justice for all, especially for immigrant and refugee women. Beatrice has spoken to hundreds of Manitoba newcomers, primarily women, about their rights and responsibilities under the Human Rights Code.

Catherine Rust-Akinbolaji

Catherine Rust-Akinbolaji is an Assistant Professor at Providence University College. She loves teaching World Music and training teachers of English. She has lived in Hong Kong and Slovakia and has been to 18 different countries. She dreams of traveling to more places, but is equally happy learning about other cultures from her students. Yisa calls Catherine and their daughter Abby his major inspiration.