Yisa Akinbolaji is an established Winnipeg full-time artist and former educator. Yisa is the first black artist to have his work displayed at the Senate of Canada (2020). He has extensively engaged in numerous solo and group art exhibitions (local and international) for more than thirty years. Yisa, a Canadian citizen originally from Nigeria was featured on the cover of Art Business News, New York, in November 2011 for his distinctive painting technique. His dexterity and uncompromising creative freedom, as registered in his colour usage, has earned him several commissioned projects in paintings and mosaic installation.
In 1993, Yisa began to explore a new technique. This technique he further developed while obtaining his M.F.A. in Visual Arts from the University of North Dakota. At UND, where he graduated with distinction, under the supervision of Professor Arthur Jones (Chair), Professor Kim Fink and Prof. Brian Paulsen. Yisa earned a Diploma in Advertising Art (Graphic Design) from Red River College, and HND from Yaba University College of Technology.
Yisa has lived and practiced art in Winnipeg, Canada since 1997. Yisa was elected to the membership of Manitoba Society of Artists in 2000, becoming its President in 2001 at the 100th Anniversary and serving until 2003. Before immigrating to Canada in 1997, Yisa was recognized as a leading Nigerian artist with his work and biography included in Nigerian Artists: A Who’s Who and Bibliography (1993) compiled and edited by Bernice Kelly and Janet L. Stanley of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington. D.C. In 1988 and 1989 Yisa was an adjunct Drawing and Painting Instructor at the Lagos State College of Education, Ijanikin. Between 1988 and 1997, Yisa taught Fine Art at the Lagos State Model College, Badore. Yisa is the Chair and Founder of the Creative Foundation Inc.
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Afeez Ismail is a Nigerian-Born Canadian and a Financial Analyst that is best recognized for his professionalism and creativity. He has worked in several capacities as an accountant, finance manager and a financial analyst within both the private and public sectors. Afeez completed a Bachelor of Commerce (honours) degree in Accounting and Management Information System (MIS) at the Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba. He is currently a public service employee with the Government of Canada.
In joining the Creative Foundation’s team of volunteers, Afeez assumed the Financial Secretary position where he was responsible for defining the organization’s financial needs and implementing strategies for fundraising and revenue generation. His innovative ideas, competence, and excellent performance informed Creative Foundation board’s decision to appoint him as a Treasurer. It was owing to Afeez’s expertise and outstanding efforts that Creative Foundation attained its Registered Charitable status in 2018. He now serves as the Vice-President and Treasurer of the Creative Foundation, the positions he continues to fulfil proficiently.
Afeez’s enthusiasm to be part of a creative and charity-oriented organizations like Creative Foundation is driven by his passion to always strengthen programs, events and activities that feature youth development and empowerment. Afeez likes to work with the youth as he finds that the society would benefit a lot more from the young population in the future.
Babatunde Akinjo is the Secretary and Financial Secretary of the Creative Foundation Inc.
He is a Winnipeg based accountant who holds a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Accounting from Bowen University (Nigeria), and a graduate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
‘Tunde loves art, music and sports; and hopes to integrate these with his academic and professional ingenuity to support the mandate of the CFI.
Gurjot Rehal has a business management honours degree from Asper School of Business in Canada with a degree in an accounting and supply chain management, her qualifications extend to assisted research in international business publication of MNEs, and property valuation. She builds an international and diverse growing business in e-commerce across North America, India, and the UK.
Kevin A Williams
Kevin Williams is a banking professional with over 10 years of experience in retail, commercial and investment banking. Proven track record in linking corporate vision to the delivery of desired results through people empowerment and the effective use of resources, process, and technology.
Demonstrated leader with the ability to lead, direct and manage corporate relationships with a keen focus on superior service, maximizing gains while maintaining appropriate risk tolerance levels.
Toludare Toluwalope (Ph.D) is a professional ceramics from Nigeria. He recently moved to Canada with his family. While in Nigeria, he taught ceramics at Federal University of Technology and supervised graduate students. His curiosity has been more of someone who loves to solve mysteries behind ceramics, which is evident in his scientific research publications.
Toludare has passion for pottery, which motivates his love of creating large forms on the throwing wheel with eye-catching decorations. He creates harmony for thrown forms with dexterity showing African/Asian master class. He is a ceramist with interest focused on ceramic practice both at contemporary and technical level commanding analytical study of material behaviour. Due to non-availability of indigenous glazes in Nigeria, he developed an interest in formulating a workable “zero cost” decorative glaze using waste materials within his disposal. He received a grant for the development of electrical porcelain insulators using indigenous materials.
Abby Akinbolaji is a junior board member of the Creative Foundation. An honours student at Dakota Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Abby is an active member of her school community as a regular volunteer in several programs and loves connecting with other students across Manitoba.
Abby has been participating in the activities of the Creative Foundation since age 7. Abby now manages student coordination and website content for the Creative Foundation. Her proficiency in the two responsibilities derives from her experience with the organization itself as a participant since her early childhood.
Abby highly values creativity and innovation; she has spent time learning both computer coding and art and she recognizes the importance of both of these disciplines. Abby is an athlete, with her first introduction to the sport being dance classes at age 5. Presently, she plays basketball and volleyball. She is bilingual, a fluent speaker of both English and French and enjoys learning new languages. Abby is delighted to be an inspiration to her peers through Creative Foundation.
Lakshita Malhotra originally from India and moved to Canada in 2021 loves computer coding, reading novels, listening to music, and dancing. Lakshita is fond of developing, creating, and designing websites that help to ease people’s work and make an impactful change in the lives of people. She likes to explore the world, traveling different countries, and connect with people from different cultural backgrounds, races, classes.
Lakshita loves to crack jokes and help make the people around her feel comfortable. She believes in giving back to society, especially the needy and underprivileged, and she aims to enable all individuals to grow together.
Rayna Porter (she/her) is a recent arrival to Winnipeg having spent most of her career in Ontario working in the sectors of Health Care and Post-Secondary Education. She holds a diploma in Medical Office Administration from Durham College, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Critical Thinking with an emphasis in Legal Studies from Trent University, and a certificate in Non-profit Leadership from Brock University. Rayna’s work engaging youth began with running a small improv group and moved to supporting student-led activism initiatives through the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. These experiences have shaped her passion for youth empowerment and engaging political leaders to include youth and marginalized voices in their policy decisions. Dedicated to approaching decisions with antiracism and decolonization in mind, Rayna hopes to use her position with the Creative Foundation to develop an outreach strategy that builds meaningful community engagement.
Garry Green is a Winnipeg-based entrepreneur. He holds degrees from Red River College in Carpentry and Graphic Arts. Garry has been operating his store, Framing & Art Centre, for twenty years as a retail custom picture framer, gallery, and gift shop. Firmly rooted in the local arts scene, Garry has been representing almost exclusively Manitoba-based artists and artisans with the goal of connecting artists to art buyers within their community. In joining the board of Creative Foundation, Garry hopes his knowledge and passion for the arts will be an asset towards inspiring young people in the community to explore and develop their creative abilities.
Catherine Rust-Akinbolaji is an Assistant Professor at Providence University College. She loves teaching World Music and training teachers of English. She has lived in Hong Kong and Slovakia and has been to 18 different countries. She dreams of travelling to more places but is equally happy learning about other cultures from her students.
Dr. Tito Daodu
Tito Daodu is currently a Pediatric Surgery Fellow at Alberta Children’s Hospital. She finished medical school at the University of Manitoba in 2013 and completed her residency in General Surgery in 2018 at the University of Calgary. She was heavily involved in traditional African cultural dance and played a major role in Folklorama as a youth and young adult. Over the years, Tito has strived to faithfully serve her community through volunteer work and social endeavors. In Winnipeg, she has worked with West Broadway Youth Outreach as a mentor and leader as well as with several other community organizations. She has returned several times to her home country of Nigeria to work with hospitals and conduct research in child health and surgery. She continues to work with young people and acts as a mentor and speaker. Tito is the first Black woman to practice pediatric surgery in Canada. Dr. Tito Daodu is a Life Mentor Award recipient of the Creative Foundation Incorporation.
Tanmay Bakshi – coding since the age of 5 is an Artificial Intelligence expert, a Canadian author, TED & keynote speaker, and a media personality who has appeared in CNBC, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, just to name a few. He has addressed over 200,000 executives, leaders, and intellectual at international conferences, universities, and multinationals worldwide. His passion to develop algorithms and work with machine learning leads him to apply this expertise mainly in the fields of education and healthcare. His goal is to help at least 100,000 aspiring coders in learning how to code and innovate. Tanmay does this through his books, workshops, and seminars. Tanmay’s YouTube channel called “Tanmay Teaches” and his consistent work towards his goal for the past 8 years has earned him numerous recognitions like The Knowledge Ambassador award, IBM Champion, Google Developer Expert, Twilio Doer award, and Global Goodwill Ambassador at Linkedln, just to name a few. And he is – just – 15 – years – old!!! Tanmay Bakshi is a Life Mentor Award recipient of the Creative Foundation Incorporation.