top of page

Crafting Stories with Glass Beads: An Artistic Journey Rooted in Culture and Resilience

Updated: 3 hours ago

As Selfless Art Gallery's upcoming pop-up exhibition, "The Multifaceted Journey Towards Inner Balance and Peace," draws near, anticipation mounts for an immersive journey into the intricate world of glass bead artistry. Among the featured artists, Sunday Olaniyi promises to offer viewers a profound exploration of resilience and cultural storytelling. Through his masterful integration of Yoruba culture, African proverbs, and recycled materials, Sunday's artworks resonate with themes of strength and perseverance in the face of adversity. In our recent interview with Sunday, he shares insights into his creative process, his inspiration behind using glass beads as his primary medium, and the profound impact of art education on societal development. Read on as we dig deeper into Sunday's artistic journey, where every bead weaves a tale of resilience and hope.

Ilefo (Resilience), 2023

Beads on board

48 x 36 in.

Why is it important for you to showcase your background in your artwork? A river does not flow and forgets its source. As an African artist who was born and raised in Africa, my background is rich in social values, religion, morals, politics, economics, and aesthetic values; this is where my stories lie as an artist who has been so conscious of his environment and with the ability to express and share what I have experienced as a contemporary artist.

What initially drew you to using glass beads as your primary medium for creating art? With my background rooted in recycled art, where I transformed discarded materials into treasured creations, this journey led me to discover the allure of beads as a medium of expression and to narrate how a small idea can grow into something big. I see each single bead as a dot which can be considered as each individual’s subconscious mind and coming together as a whole to convey a high volume of messages. How do you integrate elements of Yoruba culture and African proverbs into your artistic expression? Yoruba culture is dynamic because it’s centered on respect and moral values.

Yorùbá Proverbs are wise sayings passed through generations to teach historical lessons and good morals and instill social value. The value of proverbs is epitomized in the African proverb which says, “A proverb is a horse which can carry you to the discovery of idea sought.”

Gaze, 2024

Beads and oil on board 

48 x 30 in.

Can you share with us a memorable experience or story behind one of your artworks? I remember in 2015 when I entered one of my pieces made from recycled materials titled “Tough Time Never Last" to a prestigious art competition. I made it to the final round but was not shortlisted for a prize or an award. I was not discouraged, however, and decided to travel thousands of miles to celebrate with the winners at the grand finale.  To my greatest surprise, while helping one of the awardees take photographs with his camera, I felt so much joy in my heart. Suddenly, my name was announced as the Best Entry winner. This has given me much hope as an artist to be more passionate and tenacious towards my talent and skills.

What challenges have you faced in your journey as an artist? I have experienced many challenges, like getting the right art collectors and spaces to exhibit,  but I see them all as their own works of art because life is full of challenges every day, and life itself is art. You've conducted artistic workshops in various communities and schools globally. How do you believe art education contributes to societal development? I believe so much in the power of sharing my skills and wealth of experience as an artist because art reflects our history, traditions, culture, and ourselves. It allows us to dive deep into different topics and, emotions, allowing us to reflect on who we are and what we believe in. Art education is very paramount because art is the foundation of everything. What can viewers expect to see and feel when engaging with your artworks? My works represent the power of imagination, encouraging viewers to tap into their true selves and transcend existing boundaries.

Join us at "The Multifaceted Journey Towards Inner Balance and Peace" Exhibition this June to immerse yourself in Sunday’s reflective artistry, discovering echoes of your own experiences and emotions and the common threads that bind us all together.


Stay up to date with our artists, exhibitions, events, and more, join our mailing list.