Masud Ashley Olufani (MAO) is an Atlanta based mixed media artist whose studio practice is rooted in the discipline of sculpture. He is a graduate of Arts High School in Newark, N.J., Morehouse College and The Savannah College of Art and Design where he earned an M.F.A. in sculpture in 2012. Masud has exhibited his work in group and solo shows in Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans; Louisiana; Chicago, Illinois; Richmond, Virginia; Lacoste, France; and Hong Kong, China. The artist has completed residencies at Savannah College of Art and Design; Savannah, GA.; The Vermont Studio Center; The Hambidge Center for Arts and Sciences in Rabun, GA.; Creative Currents in Portobello, Panama; and The Creatives Project in Atlanta, GA. He is the recipient of the 2016 Southern Art Prize for the state of Georgia; the winner of a 2015-16' MOCA GA Working Artist Project Grant; a 2015 Idea Capital Grant, and the 2015 Southwest Airlines Art and Social Engagement grant; and is a 2014-15’ Walthall Fellow. He is an artist in residence at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.
“Arts, crafts and sciences uplift the world of being, and are conducive to its exaltation.”
My objects aspire to be visual poems—works of art that reach beyond themselves to reveal something meaningful about the human experience. I attempt to create work which blends formal elegance, emotional integrity, and spiritual resonance. At the core of my creative impulse lies a principal which is diametrically opposed to the cynicism and doubt that seems to shape and define the present worldview—hope. I still believe in the transformative potential of art; that in spite of the undertow of our overtly materialistic society the power of artistic expression rests in its ability to lift the spirit and inspire new ways of seeing. It is this faith in the inherent potentialities latent within the vision of the artist that compels me to create.
My studio practice reflects a profound interest in material relationships charged with sociological, and psychological implications. I’m interested in how objects operate in both the objective and subjective realities and how cultural memory tethers those objects to individual and collective history. Thematically my work addresses issues such as social destabilization; economic stratification; racial justice, and the soul’s aspiration for transcendence. My devotion to craft and the slow methodical realization of an idea in visual form reflects my belief in the imprint of the artist hand and the maker’s ability to imbue the object with spirit through physical labor, fueled by vision and creativity.
I am a Bahai' and my work as an artist is directed towards the realization of the oneness of the human family. I see myself as an instrument in the hand of the Creator used to carry forward an ever advancing civilization.
- M.F.A. Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, GA
- B.A. Studio Art, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
- Trip Wire; Dodd Galleries; Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia; January-March 2018.
- Southern Sampler; Tower Fine Arts Gallery; College of Brockport; Brockport, New York; February-April 2018.
- Visionaries: SCAD Celebrates Savannah's Historic Sit-in Movement; Trustees Theater, Savannah.
- Personal Politics Redux: Artist as Witness, Memory Keeper & Social Conscience; University of West Georgia; Carrollton, GA.
- Personal Politics: Artist as Witness, Memory Keeper & Social Conscience; Hudgens Center for the Arts; Duluth, GA.
- Poetics of the Disembodied: Working Artist Project Fellow solo exhibition; The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia; Atlanta, GA; summer, 2016.
- Portalism; Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia; Atlanta, GA.
- Frequencies; Beep Beep Gallery; Atlanta, GA.
- Echoes; Lineage of the Spirit; Lilian Blades & Masud Olufani; The Art Place; Marietta, GA.
- Project Lift Artist Salon, Atlanta, GA.
- Continuim; The Goat Farm Arts Center; Atlanta, GA.
- Talent Loves Company, The Barbara Archer Gallery. Atlanta, GA.
- Tony Blair Foundation World Malaria Day Art Auction, Atlanta, GA.
- Hambidge Center for the Arts, Art Auction, The Goat Farm Arts Center, Atlanta, GA.
- MAO: Residue. Mason Muer Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
- Action Mapping. Whitespec Gallery. Atlanta, GA
- MAO: Threading Through Memory. Ar·che·type Gallery. Atlanta, GA
- Open Studio. Savannah College of Art and Design. Atlanta, GA
- The New Pan-African Ideal. Ar·che·type Gallery. Atlanta, GA
- Facing Out & Looking In. Underground Atlanta. Atlanta, GA
- Open Studio. Savannah College of Art and Design. Atlanta, GA.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Key West Literary Seminar; Key West, Florida
- Board member: The Creatives Project
- Board Member: The Metropolitan Public Art Coalition
- Southern Arts Prize Fellowship; the state of Georgia.
- Artist in Residence; The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
- Artist in Residence; The Vermont Studio Center; February-March, 16'
- Savannah College of Art and Design Alumni Artist in Residence Program; Savannah, GA.
- MOCA GA Working Artist Project Grant; 2015-16.’
- Southwest Airlines Art and Social Engagement grant in conjunction with Emory University Center for Ethics; Atlanta, GA.
- Capital Idea Grant recipient; Atlanta, GA.
- CSA Art Advisory Board; Atlanta, GA. 2013-present.
- The Walthall Fellowship; Atlanta, GA. 2014-2015.
- The Creatives Project Artist in Residence; Atlanta, GA. 2013-2015.
- Taller Portobelo Norte Artist in Residence; Portobello, Panama; Spring 2013.
- Shortlisted for the MOCA GA Working Artist Grant, 2012-13.’
- Artist in Residence, Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences, Rabun, Ga; 2012.
- Residency Fellowship, Fulton County Arts Council, Atlanta, GA. 2012
- Full Graduate fellowship, Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, GA. 2009-12’.
- Fulton County Arts Council grant, Atlanta, GA
- Graduate fellowship, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
- CGR Art Advisors Scholarship recipient, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
- New Jersey Arts Council Grant. Newark, N.J.
- City Lights with Lois Reitzes for WABE 90.1, "Atlanta Artist Masud Olufani Awarded South Arts Fellowship," posted April 13th, 2017. http://news.wabe.org/post/atlanta-artist-masud-olufani-awarded-south-arts-fellowship·
- Anna Nelson-Daniel, "A Studio Conversation with Masud Olufani," posted June 2, 2017. http://artsatl.com/studio-conversation-masud-olufani/
- Carl Rojas for Burnaway, "Chopping it up with Southern Prize Finalist Masud Olufani," posted May 3rd, 2017. http://burnaway.org/feature/southern-prize-finalist-masud-olufani/
- Ronda Racha Penrice For the AJC, "Atlanta Actor on BET's The Quad also local acclaimed Artist," posted March 21st, 2017. http://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/atlanta-actor-bet-series-the-quad-also-local-acclaimed-artist/Zz5mNYZwdLwQMjbksyFyNN/
- A Conversation with Andres Bedoya and Masud Olufani: 'Storied Objects,' https://blog.scad.edu/scadglobal/arch/7426
- Paula Wallace, Review: "Masud Olufani: Artist as Concatenator," posted September 20th, 2016. https://www.scad.edu/blog/masud-olufani-artist-concatenator
- Review: "Masud Olufani’s “Poetics of the Disembodied” blurs the line between mediated and unmediated," posted August 26, 2016. http://www.artsatl.com/review-masud-olufanis-poetics-disembodied-blurs-line-mediated-unmediated/
- Felicia Feaster, "Art review: Race, history loom large in haunting solo exhibition," posted August 8, 2016. http://www.myajc.com/news/entertainment/arts-theater/art-review-race-history-loom-large-in-haunting-sol/nsCK9/
- Greg Head, Review: "Bearing Witness: Masud Olufani at MOCA GA," posted August 3rd, 2016. http://burnaway.org/review/masud-olufani-at-moca-ga/
- Faith Mcclure, Review: WonderRoot's Walthall Fellows emphasize live encounters in "Portalism" at MOCA GA, posted August 12th, 2015. http://www.artsatl.com/2015/08/review-portalism-wonderroot-walthall/
- Carla Aaron-Lopez, “Archetype Gallery Begins 2011 With Fresh Artists, New Arts Magazine,” posted January 18th, 2011, http://burnaway.org/interview/archetype-gallery-begins-2011-with-fresh-artists-new-arts-magazine/