Olaniyi Sunday Olaniran is a young, passionate artist based out of Nigeria, who has experience as a painter, fine arts instructor and master craftsman of traditional African art including wood carving and batik. He has created art pieces made from thousands of glass beads as well as sculptures depicting his African culture. Through his paintings he examines the relationship of space, shape, color, and non-representational forms. Along with this, his paintings illustrate semi-abstracted human and animal forms that combine the traditional with the contemporary.
The first major project Olaniyi contributed to the Hexagon Project was the “Hexagon Flying Pencil Collaboration.” In 2018, Sunday and his students at Kingdom Kids International School in Osogbo, Nigeria, created a 5-foot-tall cardboard hexagonal pencil into which they inserted their hexagons. The giant pencil was created to collect students’ hexagons travel from location to location. It was hosted by two art teachers in the United States: Christine Enedy, from Girard College in Philadelphia, and Melissa Cruise, from Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligences School in Scranton, PA.
The deconstructed pencil “flew” from Nigeria to Pennsylvania as a metaphor for communication, with the vessel representing the hopes, dreams and wishes for transformation of the children. In March of 2019, the Flying Pencil was displayed at Howard Gardener School in Scranton, and then in May it traveled with their students’ hexagons inside to Stephen Girard College for their Founder’s Week Art Show.
Collaborative plans continue, addressing the 2021 Special Themes of Diversity, Technology and Social Justice. In collaboration with the San Francesco College, in Ejigbo. Nigeria, Olaniyi will incorporate sound into a hexagonal multimedia piece by using beads, collage, and technology. Olaniyi will work alongside art teacher Mrs. Akinade Abiola and her high school students. Her art students are developing these themes and have begun working on their pieces for this year’s Hexagon Project interactive installation. The town of Ejigbo, is an ancient settlement that is part of the major Yoruba town in the Osun State of Nigeria.