Yisa Akinbolaji is an established Winnipeg full-time artist and former educator. Yisa is a recipient of Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee Medal.
In 1993, Yisa began to explore a new painting technique. This technique he further developed while obtaining his M.F.A. in Visual Arts from the University of North Dakota. At UND, Yisa graduated with distinction under the supervision of Professor Arthur Jones (Chair), Professor Kim Fink and Prof. Brian Paulsen. Yisa had also 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 has also been featured on the cover of Art Business News, New York, in November 2011 for the unique painting technique he invented. For the technique, Yisa uses Removable Glue medium he developed; he named it Remoglue. He has conducted workshops in his technique for students in many schools and for professional artists. Yisa’s works is published in Western Voices in Canadian Art, by Patricia Bovey. His works have been featured in several other publications, discussed on Radio, and TV news. Yisa’s painting, entitled, “Wisdom Thread” is currently featured in the Government of Alberta department of Education’s Curriculum, since 2021.
Yisa has served a 3-year term of total 9 years on the board of the Manitoba Arts Council. Yisa’s artistic contributions have made it into the Canadian Parliament’s Chamber in Ottawa three times: 1st was on Feb. 27, 2019, the 2nd on Sept. 30, 2020, and the 3rd was on May 10, 2023. They were presented by Senator Pat Bovey. Yisa is the first Black artist to have his work displayed at the Senate of Canada. Yisa is a recipient of the Manitoba 150 Award. In 2018, Yisa received the Manitoba Premier’s Volunteer Service Award. Yisa has also been recognized at the Manitoba Legislative Assembly for his contributions to Manitoba and for his work internationally.
Yisa is the Chairman and Founder of the Creative Foundation. For more information, visit: www.yisagallery.com
Mridul Bhargava has done extensive post graduate training – Masters in Business Administration, Masters of Commerce & Masters in Finance & Control. He is also Certified Management Accountant from IMA, USA and associate member of The Institute of Cost Accountants of India.
Mridul has supervisory 15+ years India & International experience with multi-lingual ability, supporting finance functions and worked at international locations viz. Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Thailand, Brazil, Singapore & Malaysia.
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 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.
Yechenu is a valued board member of the Creative Foundations Inc, providing support and direction on Fundraising. She has been in the banking field for more than 7 years, serving in several financial advisory capacities. Currently a Commercial Account Manager, she gains satisfaction funding dreams of businesses. She graduated with a Masters degree in Environmental Resources and Development Economics at the University of Winnipeg and also a Bachelor degree of Economics from Bingham University.
She has a passion for investing in people and impacting positive change in society through community service. While studying, she shared knowledge to develop Human Capital by providing lab instruction for Corporate Finance and also Quantitative Methods for Business and Economics. In addition, she is an active member of the Congress of Black Women, Manitoba and also a member of the Nigerian Association of Manitoba Inc, where she contributes resources. She loves family, finance, politics, music and good food. Her spouse and children are her main source of inspiration.
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 for the Creative Foundation. Her responsibility is 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.
David I. Fatimehin
David is a member of board of the Creative Foundation. He is a performing artist, mentor, community development outreach coordinator with marketing experience.
David is co-founder of F.R.A.M.E. Art warehouse. He is a passionate advocate for the preservation and promotion of African art forms and cultural heritage, including art, food, dance, and languages. David performs at the Folklorama African Pavilion where he uses dance techniques to tell stories about African cultural ceremonies. David is happily married to Amanda Fatimehin and blessed with three children.
Funmi Akinola is a Bachelor’s degree graduate in Accounting at the Ondo State Polytechnic. Funmi loves reading and learning subjects relating to Science and Medicine when she is not busy supervising the homework of her young daughters. Funmi’s interests include learning new skills, cooking, planning events and meeting new people. She has particular interest in childcare and mentoring the young ones so they can do well in their academics with a balanced healthy lifestyle. Funmi always loves to ensure that people stay safe and happy; If she had not gone into Accounting as a profession, Medicine would have been another profession of choice.
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.