Ebenezer Akinola was born in Ibadan on December 1, 1968. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in painting from University of Benin (1989). While at the university, he received a scholarship for the best student in painting in 300 level (1988); departmental prize for the best student in fine art; and the Fasuyi Art Prize for the best student in painting (1989).
Between 1991 and 1992, Akinola taught at Holy Child Secondary School, Calabar, and Birrel Avenue High School, Lagos. He later worked for a year at Insight Communications Limited, Lagos before settling down into full studio practice.
Portraits and figure studies form a special part of Akinola’s oeuvre. He skillfully achieves a balance of realistic and abstract passages in his work, adding further depth with a combination of broad sweeping strokes in the background and smaller, finer details to accentuate areas of interest. Akinola’s work bears influence from several cultures across Africa. For example, his turbans are borrowed from northern Nigeria while the wrappers are from the south. His work is also deeply rooted in a sense of community and traditional values with migration as a reoccurring theme.
He has received several important commissions including portraits of former leaders Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo, which are all displayed at the National Gallery of Art, Lagos. He is a member of the Society of Nigerian Artists.