Man Crush Monday (MCM): Kunle Adewale

Kunle Adewale is a Nigerian visual artist and social entrepreneur.

With over a decade of experience as an artist and educationist, Adewale founded ‘Tender Arts Nigeria’ in 2013, a social enterprise and non-profit organization which aims to positively impact children, youth and adults, with a focus on therapeutic arts, art education, talent development, community development and civic engagement.

He is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University with specialization in Painting and Art History. He studied Civic Leadership from Tulane University New Orleans (USA), Arts in Health for Helping Professionals, Charlotte (USA) and Arts in Medicine at the Arts in Health Research Intensive from University of Florida (USA). Adewale is a certified artist in Understanding Arts and Dementia (University College London, UK) and in Medicine and The Arts (University of Cape Town, South Africa).

Projects that Adewale facilitated in the past and present range from therapeutic art projects for displaced families suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders, to children and adults living with cancer, sickle cell anemia, dementia, mental illnesses, HIV and aids, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism or other neurological disorders.

He has impacted over 15,000 beneficiaries through his art programs in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and USA. He currently leads the largest Arts in Health Network on the continent of Africa through the ‘Arts in Medicine Fellowship for Students and Professionals in Arts and Health’, located in Nigeria. He has featured as a panelist and keynote speaker at Arts in Health-related conferences in Nigeria and abroad. His development works has featured on Aljazeera, Reuters, BBC Africa, TRT World and Africa 54 Voice of America Washington DC among many others.

His community-based projects have been supported by U.S Department of State, Center for Arts in Medicine, University of Florida, U.S Consulate Lagos, and endorsed by International Child Arts Foundation, Washington D.C, United Nation Information Center, Society of Nigerian Artists, Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, Lagos State Ministry of Sports Youth and Social Development.

In 2014, Adewale was nominated for Global Teacher Prize by the Varkeys Foundation (UK). In August 2015, Adewale had the honor of meeting United States President, Barack Obama through the Mandela Washington Fellowship Award for Young African Leaders. He has also been specially recognized by National Museum of African Arts, Smithsonian Institution Washington DC and The Arts Council of New Orleans. He is an international advocate for persons living with cancer and sickle cell anemia, and a vast member of Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc. He was Nigeria’s recipient of the 2016 Commonwealth Youth Worker Award (UK) and has been nominated for JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Nigeria in 2018. He is currently the Nigerian representative for Arts in Health Early Career Research Network (UK) and was shortlisted by the World Bank as one of the 68 Social Inclusion Heroes. As a result of Adewale’s impacts in the field of arts in health globally, August 2 was proclaimed by the Mayor of Cincinnati (USA) as the official ‘Kunle Adewale Day’.

Adewale strives to continue to provide visionary leadership and inspire others to engage in social development in Nigeria and Africa through his therapeutic art engagement programs. As one of the selected Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), University of California (USA), he is currently specifically trained in brain health. In his future work, Adewale seeks to improve awareness of dementia and reduce stigma often faced by those with cognitive impairments in Africa.

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