Prof.Peju Layiwola


Peju Layiwola is a Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the Stanley Museum of Art at the University of Iowa, USA. She is an artist with an active studio career that she combines with research and writing. Her works engage themes of history and memory, textiles, gender, and the restitution of artefacts.

She is a recipient of extensive international residences from – The Art of Friendship, in collaboration with Israeli artist Ella Amitai Sadovsky, organized by the Israeli Embassy in Nigeria in 2023; Fellow/Artist-in-Residence at the University of Bayreuth, Germany in 2022; Artist-in-Residence, Rautenstrauch Joest Museum, Koln, Germany in 2020; Residency form Artist and Writers (RAW), Arts of Africa and the Global South Research Programme at Rhodes University, South Africa in 2018 and Goethe Institut Grantee, Artist-in-Residence, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Germany in 2017. Furthermore, she has served as co-curator for international exhibitions, including ‘Resist! The Art of Resistance (2020-2022) and I Miss You (2022), both at the Rautenstrauch Joest Museum in Koln, Germany.

Layiwola’s acclaimed global exhibitions include Art and the Restitution Question (2010, Lagos/Ibadan, Nigeria); Whose Centenary? (2014, Benin City, Nigeria); Return (2018, Grahamstown, SA) and Indigo Reimagined (2019, Lagos), as well as collections at Stanley Museum of Art, University of Iowa, Microsoft Office-Lagos, the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Arts, and Pan Atlantic University, Lagos.

In recognition of her contributions as an art historian, Professor Layiwola has received numerous accolades and grants from the British Council SSA Cultural Exchange program, 2022; Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence Research Grant, University of Bayreuth, Germany, 2020-2021; Lagos Studies Association Distinguished Scholar’s Award, 2021; Tyson Scholar, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2019; Terra Foundation for American Art Grant, 2018, US Lagos Consulate Exchange grant, 2017 and Distinguished Researcher’s Award, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos, 2007. She is also an alumnus of the CAA-Getty International Program, participating in 2013, 2018, 2017 and 2020. Layiwola was elected the first resident African scholar to be President of the Art Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA), USA, 2021-2023. In 2011, she was nominated for the International Visitors’ Leadership Programme (IVLP) on Cultural Preservation. She has been a juror for numerous art competitions/prizes in Nigeria, including the Life in My City Art Festival in Enugu (2018), Nigeria, and Art X (2022). She is presently on the board of the Yemisi Shyllon Museum Supervisory Council. Recently, she was selected to participate in the British Council flagship CANEX 2023 as well as invited to join the British Council network for future fashion delegations, Market Access opportunities, and showcases in Cairo, Egypt, where her textile and fashion brand eponymously named Péjú Layíwolá featured.

Professor Layiwola is recognized for her advocacy work in providing programs that seek to alleviate poverty in various underserved populations through her two artist-led initiatives: The Women and Youth Art Foundation, which began in 1994, and Master Art Classes, which commenced in 2020. Her advocacy work has been supported by the Hilary Clinton SmARTpower grant through the US State Department in 2011 and a public-school project funded by the US Lagos Consulate grant in 2017, for which she received the USA Alumni Award in 2018.