Stephen Fakiyesi

I am a conceptual artist best known for producing print media installations that address social, spiritual, and cultural identities. Among other distinctions, I was the recipient of the inaugural Bette Midler Scholarship at the University of California in Los Angeles, in the prestigious Visual Arts MFA program. I have worked or exhibited in the company of many of our generations most acclaimed artists.

My art practice has been described as reflecting on the legacy of colonization and its effects on African-Canadian culture in the global economy. Through my art practice, I address the underpinnings of our often messy, and complex social interactions with, arguably, disarming visual constructs, using creative methods oftentimes predicated on play, and interactivity.


University of California, Los Angeles, 2003
● MFA, Painting and Drawing
University of Toronto at Mississauga and Sheridan College, 1994
● BA, Art and Art History

Teaching Experience

● Artist in Community, 2007(May-June) Art Gallery of Ontario, Transformation City Project, Toronto Commissioned to conduct a community billboard project at Hayden Park School (a High School for girls with autism), and CONTACT School (an alternative High School for mature high risk youths). Coordinated by Syrus Marcus Ware Other participating artists were Sandra Brewster at Lord Lansdowne (Grade School) and St. Mary’s (Grade School), and Michael Caines at Ryerson Public School (Grade School Jason VanDyk, graphic designer
● Teaching Assistant, 2003(spring) University of California, Los Angeles Assisted Professor Derek Boshier in Advance Drawing Provided a critical eye and acted as a resource for students Co-organized field trips, followed-up with absentees, and disseminated grades Set-up classroom, and distributed information
● Print-media Instructor - silkscreen, 2002(spring) University of California, Los Angeles Facilitated and taught an independent class on serigraphy Student centered class of 6 Taught students how to apply emulsion, prepare and shoot images, as well as print and register images for multi-colour printing
● Teaching Assistant, 2002(fall) University of California, Los angeles Assisted Professor Don Suggs in beginning drawing
● Teaching Assistant, 2002(winter) University of California, Los Angeles Assisted Professor Roger Herman in advance printmaking
● Visiting Artist/Art Instructor, 1995-1998 Toronto District School Board Visited a dozen or so schools and taught hundreds of kids art appreciation and Human rights issues Highly recognized by program supervisor, Mary Gay Brooks, for contribution to program


● Author, The Urban Artist’s Manifesto: Act I. 2022 (fall) Canadian art is in the midst of a cultural renaissance, led largely by black and indigenous artists. However, there’s still a formidable gap to bridge, to successfully reach the all-elusive goal of success. And, there are plenty of hidden barriers and pitfalls that plunge many to failure, that must be overcome to succeed. What does success even look like? And, can it be had on one's own terms? These are some of a number of elusive questions I explore and answer in this book. This is a lively call to action, ushering in a new cultural hotbed, and an art capital - Toronto, harkening to creative flourishing, and giving voice to this moment through a broad range of research, and hard won personal insights, mined from the data in multiple disciplines from art, and art-history, to the business world; from the music industry, to the sports industry, and from my own lived experience as an accomplished Toronto-based artist, an early 90s activist, an entrepreneur, and an intrapreneur. My inquiries have taken me from Toronto, to Lagos, to Nunavut - in the arctic circle,from Los Angeles, to London, and beyond. It is the pull and push of much of my professional life. And, it is the underlying theme of this book, a journey of discovery if you will. Beyond research, this is personal, a manifesto for the marginalized, and the misfits; The Urban Artist’s Manifesto - Act 1, book, expected release date TBD.
● Panelist/Presenter, Saturday, March 5th, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM (CST), 2022. College Art Association(CAA), Annual Conference, session “On Afro-pessimism and its Alternatives.” moderated by Kristen Laciste, PhD candidate, UC, Santa Cruz, presented virtually.
● Juror, College Arts Association, 3-year term, 2021 – 2024. One of three jurors for CAA’s annual Distinguished Artists Awards, along with Beauvais Lyons, chair, Chancellor's Professor School of Art, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Jessica S Hong, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Toledo Museum of Art
● Member, College Arts Association, March 6, 2021-present.
● Founder, There Goes the Neighbourhood, non-for-profit artist collective, October 2020-present
● Juror with Pamela Dodds, John B Aird Gallery, 13th Annual Juried Print Exhibition, curated by Carla Garnet, 2016
● Keynote speaker, University of Toronto, Mississauga/Sheridan College, Annual Art and Art History Student Awards,” Nov 13, 2012
● Artist Talk, Toronto Free Gallery, “A Discussion on Race and Representation,” moderated by Heather Haynes, May 13, 2011
● Artist Talk, McMaster University, “Identity and Politics,” October 21, 2010
● Curator, A Space Gallery, “That One,” featuring Habib Albi, Lee Henderson, Marcel Reedus, and Amin Rehman, group, Toronto, 2009
● Co-curator, Fort York, The Latin-Afro/First-Nations Festival,Toronto, 2009
● Juror, Ontario Arts Council, 2008
● Lecturer, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto, “Should I Stay or Should I Go? Canadian Artists in the Diaspora,” panel discussion featuring Gareth Long, Will Kwan, Pierre Tremblay, Alissa Firth-England, and Stephen Fakiyesi, moderated by Tejpal Ajji, Monday January 29th, 2007
● Juror, Canada Arts Council, Ottawa, 2006
● Co-curator, UCLA, annual theme show, “To Believe Much More Than That,” involving a select group of southern California based MFA students on the theme of belief, or lack thereof, 2002
● Emerging Artist Scholarship, Open Studio – 1 year residency, 2000 – 2001
● Visiting Artist, University of Western Ontario – through Open Studio, 2000(March)
● Artist in Residence, through Open Studio, West Baffin Island Eskimo Coop, Nunavet, Arctic Circle, collaboration with famed Inuit artist, the late Kenojuak Ashevak, 2000(March)
● Artist in Residence, Open Studio – 10 months studio residency, exhibition, and artist talk, 1999(October – July)
● Artist/Advisor, Art Starts, for the "Oh! Canada Project", at the Art Gallery of Ontario, 1995(November – May)
● Curator, Art Starts – for art exhibit "Inside Out," Toronto, 1995
● Curator, Art Starts, Untitled Art Exhibit, Toronto, 1994

Exhibitions (solo)

● Jouez at Big on Bloor Festival of Arts and Culture, “The Trump Challenge,” performance, curated by Carla Garnet, solo, July 22-23rd, 2017
● Jouez at Big on Bloor Festival of Arts and Culture, “It’s inThe Air,” participatory installation, curated by Carla Garnet, solo, July 23-24th, 2016
● ACME Project Space, London, UK, “How to Speak to Power,” two person solo, Stephen Fakiyesi, Harold Ofeh, Jan 29 -Feb 1, 2015
● Nuit Blanche, “The last Black History Month Show,” performance, solo, Toronto, Sept 29th, 2010
● Creative Artist Agency exhibit, Los Angeles, solo, September 2003
● Open Studio, “Struggle,” Toronto, text by Charles Roach and Robin Pacific, Solo, March 2002
● Open Studio, “No Protest Songs,” print installation, Toronto, main gallery, text by John Armstrong, solo, October 2000
● Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, solo, 2000
● Open Studio, Toronto, solo, September 1999
● Mercer Union, “One Work,” wall print, curated by John Armstrong, Toronto, solo, fall 1995
● Hart House, University of Toronto, solo, fall 1992
● Pan African Congress, Savannah GA, solo, 1991
● Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, solo, 1991


● Gallery 1313, Toronto, “What Sustains Us,” Presented by The Six Collective Featuring works by: Hollis Alexis Baptiste, Stephen Fakiyesi, James Hewitt, Shawn Skeir, and Amir Shingray, Curated by: Hollis Alexis Baptiste, and Geneviève Wallen, group, August 28- September 8, 2019.
● Open House 2014, curated by Sandra Brewster, group, Sept 13, Sept 19, 2014
● Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, “Re:purpose,” curated by Elizabeth Sweeney and Syrus Marcus Ware, group, Aug 8 – Sept 7, 2014
● Open House, curated by Sandra Brewster, group, June 15, 2013
● Studio 42, “Seen/Unseen,” curated by Dionne Simpson, Toronto, group Aug 31-Sept 24, 2012
● Georgia Scherman Art Project, and Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, “28 Days,” curated by Pam Edmonds and Sally Frater, featuring Leo Asemota, Radcliffe Bailey(US), Sonia Boyce(UK), Sandra Brewster, Delio Delgado, Godfried Donkor(UK), Denniston Ewan, Stephen Fakiyesi, Dana Inkster, Roshini Kemadoo, Wangechi Mutu(US), Keith Piper, Rob Pruitt, Dionne Simpson, Mickalene Thomas(US), Camille Turner, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems(US), group, Toronto, February 1 - 28, 2012.
● SPACE Studios, “Serious Play,” curated by Pam Edmonds, featuring Leo Asemota, Roland Bastien, Sandra Brewster, Kareem Buchannon, Lucie Chan, Stephen Fakiyesi, Brendan Fernandes, Raimi Gbadamosi, Dana Inkster, Ekua McMorris, Grace Ndiritu, Camille Turner, and Rob Walters, London, UK, group, Feb 2011
● The Print Studio, “(Re)Visions,” curated by Sally Frater, featuring Sandra Brewster, Stephen Fakiyesi, and Camille Turner, Hamilton, group, Sept 10 th -Oct 23rd 2010
● Nuit Blanche, “Illuminated Drawing and Sound Performance,” curated by Carla Garnet Project, 1292 Bloor Street West, group, 2007
● Art Gallery of Mississauga, “AAHLUMNIEX,” curated by Robert Freeman and Seamus Kealy, group, Feb 15th - March 25 rd 2007
● A Space, “I Represent,” curated by Natalie Wood, featuring Michael Chambers, Stephen Fakiyesi, Dana Inkster, Dionne Simpson, Camille Turner, and Syrus Marcus Ware, Toronto, group, Jan 13th - Feb 11th, 2006
● Trane Studio, “X”, curated by Pamela Edmonds, Toronto, group, March 5th - April 16th 2005
● ACME Gallery, “Hide & Seek or Hidden Agenda,” co-curated by Katie Brennan, Los Angeles, group, July 12th – August 2003
● Edward Day Gallery, “Compelling Behaviours,” Toronto, group, June 4-29th 2003
● UCLA, Masters of Fine Art Thesis Exhibit, Los Angeles, group, May 2003
● Track 16 Gallery, Bergamot Station Arts Center, “What Do You See at Night?” curated by John Baldassari and Roger Herman, Santa Monica, group, April 29th May 3rd 2003
● LACMA West, "Making", nine-month collaborative exhibit, with assistance from Paul McCarthy, Los Angeles, group, 2002-2003
● Human Rights Commission, Toronto, traveling, group, February 2001
● Human Rights Commission, Toronto, traveling, group, February 2000
● SOF art house, Toronto, FuturoCollective, group, February 2000
● Joseph D. Carrier Gallery, Toronto, group, 1997
● Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Start, “The Oh! Canada Project,” Toronto, group, 1996
● 80 Spadina, Toronto, group, curated by Hollis Baptiste, winter 1995
● Art Starts, Inside Out Exhibit, featuring Hollis Baptiste, Shawn Skeir, Stephen Fakiyesi, curated by Stephen Fakiyesi, 1995

Other Work

● Creator/Coordinator MBA Internship Program, 2012, 2013(spring/summer) Printer Gateway Group of Companies, Etobicoke Created an MBA internship program for wholesale manufacturing company Printer Gateway, and SEO company Creative Studio B Onboarded a total of 20 MBA candidates, 10 from UofT’s Rotman School of Management, and 10 from York University’s Schulich School of Business The initiative identified, and implemented, approximately $300000 in streamline savings for the manufacturer, and was pivotal in landing one of the interns an international VP position at Amazon, shortly thereafter.
● Facilitator/Organizer/Curator, 2007, 2008 The Production House (a Printer Gateway subsidiary), 146-30th St, Etobicoke, Primary point person in turning a 46,000 square feet, nameless warehouse with 4 tenants, into a profitable, thriving, 20 plus tenanted business and artistic hub Coordinated the 2007 One Day Art Affair, and the 2008 Movement Show Featuring artists and musicians, including faculty and select students from the art department at McMaster University, and the University of Toronto Mississauga. Also featured musician James Bryan McCollum of bands: The Philosopher Kings, and Prozzak fame. Other highlighted participants include: Carmelo Arnoldin, Amelia Jimenez, Carla Garnet, John Abrams, Natalie Wood, Duro Tofan, Michael Chambers, Hollis Baptiste, Robin Armstrong, Carlos Granados-ocon, Karen Augustine, Victoria Alstein, Ron Edding, Sandra Brewster, Andy Fabo, Cristina Tofan, Shawn Skeir, Karen Kraven, Ben Lopes, Orest Tatarfyn, Laura Zajacz, kevin O’byrne, Denniston Ewan, Aleks Bartosik, and Dionne Simpson
● Co-founder, Managing partner, 2008-2010 The Samurai Group Inc (a Printer Gateway subsidiary) Developed personal branding collateral for small to mid-sized businesses, particularly in the real estate sphere Acquired, and managed 60 individual business accounts Hired and over-saw graphic designers, photographers, and copywriters Was the primary marketing coordinator for Gordon Griffiths Consultancy (former president of print manufacturing giant Quebecor) Mentored by top business consultants, Rick Shaw of BDC, and Herb McGroarty Of Peak Performers Played leadership role along with company CEO, Brian Armstrong, in the multi-million dollar growth of parent company Printer Gateway
● Docent/Tour Guide, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2002-2003
● Fundraiser, 2002 UCLA Fund, University of California, Los Angeles Contacted alumni and raised money for UCLA’s unrestricted fund
● Curator’s Assistant, 1991-1992 Assistant to Professor Elizabeth Legge, University of Toronto Researched and took inventory of the art collection of the University of Toronto


●, “Sustenance at Gallery 1313,” article, Hugh Alcock,, 2019
●, online interview and article with Syrus Marcus Ware and Elizabeth Sweeney and commentaries by exhibition artists Lisa Bufano and Stephen Fakiyesi, summer, 2014
● Fuse Magazine, Review, “Representing,” by Rinaldo Walcott, pgs 33-35, April 2006.
● Woodcut Artist’s Handbook, book, pgs 139, 154, by George A. Walker, 2005
● University of Toronto (Mississauga) Art and Art History website, 2000 – 2003
● UCLArts Quarterly magazine article, pg. 8 – 9, written by Christopher Miles, 2002
● CFTO News, TV news interview with Carleen Nation, 2001(August 19)
● City TV, TV news interview with Suzy Kent, August 20 2001
● Toronto Star, newspaper cover story by Betsy Powell, pages A1, A9, August 17 2001
● C International Contemporary Art Magazine, page 17, written by John Armstrong, 1999 – February 2000
● Ckln 88.1, radio interview with Karen Augustine, fall 1999
● Career Connections Great Careers for People Interested in Art and Design, book, pgs, 34-38, 1996
● Globe and Mail, “Urban Artists Respond To Old Images of Canada in the AGO’s OHCanada Project, newspaper, pg D1, February 1996
● Metro Word Magazine, cover, pgs 7-10, September 15-28, 1994
● Art for Enlightenment, the Heritage Collection of the Toronto Board of Education,book, pg 256, 1993
● Globe and Mail: Noises Off section, newspaper pg C5, October 22nd 1992
● U of T Varsity Newspaper, “‘Racist’ painting vandalized,” by Mimi Choi, newspaper, cover, and pg 3, October 19th, 1992
● The Bulletin, “Controversial Painting Sparks Outrage,” by Suzanne Soto, newspaper, October, 1992


● Recipient, Ontario Arts Council Artist Creation Project Grant, senior career, $15000, May 2020
● Recipient, Ontario Arts Council Creation Grant, mid-career, $7500, January 2018
● Recipient, K.M Hunter Artist Awards, $8000, 2014
● Recipient, Canada Council for the Arts International Residency, $24000+ live-in studio, London, UK, Sept 1, 2013 – Feb 28, 2014
● Recipient, Ontario Arts Council Grant, mid-career, $7500, January 2013
● Recipient, Toronto Arts Council Grant, mid-career, $8000, February 2012
● Nomination K.M Hunter Artist Awards, 2011
● Exhibition Assistant, Ontario Arts Council, 2006
● Inaugural Bette Midler Scholarship, University of California, Los Angeles, 2001 – 2003
● Graduate Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles, 2001 – 2002
● Emerging Artist Scholarship, juried award, Open Studio, Toronto, 2000 – 2001
● Best Original Print Award, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2000
● Nick Novack Scholarship, Open Studio, Toronto, 1999 – 2000
● Recipient, Ontario Arts Council Grant for Emerging Artist, 1996
● 3rd year Award for Drawing, University of Toronto/Sheridan, 1993
● Hammerson Scholarship, University of Toronto, 1992
● Mixed Media Purchase Award, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, 1991
● 2nd year Award for Outstanding Contribution, U of T/Sheridan College, 1991
● 2nd year Award for Drawing, University of Toronto/Sheridan, 1991
● 2nd year Award for Print Media, University of Toronto/Sheridan, 1991

Select Collections

● Toronto Board of Education, Open Studio, Robin Pacific(Art Starts founder), Rob Davis(former Toronto City Councilor), Kenneth Montague(Dentist, and Gallerist), Libby Hague(Artist, and former UofT professor), Bette Midler(Actress), Pipilotti Rist(Artist)


● Mentor, 2007-2008 Hope Youth Basketball Program, Toronto Mentoring and teaching leadership skills to boys aged 10-12, in the Cooper Mills Community neighbourhood, Dundas Street W, and Scarlett Rd area Worked alongside Rowan Barrett, former NBA player, and current (as of 2021) GM of the Canadian Men’s National Basketball Team, and the father of the 3rd overall 2019 NBA Draft pick, RJ Barrett Jr, of the New York Knicks.
● Volunteer, 1998-2008 Hope World Wide, Toronto and Los Angeles Raised money and participated in 10km runs for charity Taught in “No Child Left Behind” initiative, Los Angeles, 2003
● Inaugural President, 1992-1993 Yoruba Youth Association, Toronto President of a Nigerian-Canadian youth organization with over 30 members, Aged 13 to 25 Organized fundraiser dinner and professional night with special guest City Councilor Rob Davis
● Community Activist, and Organizer, 1991-1992 Pan African Movement, Toronto Collaborated with late great activist and human rights lawyer, Charlie Roach, who was a founder of the Caribana Festival and a key proponent of MLK Day in Canada Taught self-awareness to youths within the African Canadian community Spare-headed youth engagement
● Inaugural President, 1992-1993 Yoruba Youth Association, Toronto President of a Nigerian-Canadian youth organization with over 30 members, Aged 13 to 25 Organized fundraiser dinner and professional night with special guest City Councilor Rob Davis
● Community Activist, and Organizer, 1991-1992 Pan African Movement, Toronto Collaborated with late great activist and human rights lawyer, Charlie Roach, who was a founder of the Caribana Festival and a key proponent of MLK Day in Canada Taught self-awareness to youths within the African Canadian community Spare-headed youth engagement