In a momentous achievement, the Nigeria-born British artist, Lanre Olagoke, recently received the prestigious MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from King Charles. This recognition is also a testament to his outstanding dedication to services for charity and young people, showcasing a humanitarian work through art that spans over 27 years.
The MBE honour spotlights Lanre Olagoke’s steadfast dedication to the arts. The Art-Alive Arts Trust, under his leadership, has established a lasting legacy that transcends traditional artistic boundaries, as well as profoundly influencing countless lives. Beyond the canvas, the organization’s unwavering commitment to fostering creativity and nurturing artistic talents has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape.
More than a personal triumph, the MBE award serves as an inspiration for the entire Art-Alive Arts Trust community. Lanre’s fervour for making a positive societal impact and uplifting young minds sets a standard of excellence in charitable endeavours. This recognition acts as a guiding beacon, encouraging others to emulate his footsteps and contribute meaningfully to community betterment.
In a fitting tribute from global art patrons, Prince Yemisi Shyllon, one of Africa’s preeminent art collectors, praised Olagoke’s efforts in disseminating art knowledge on the streets of the U.K. He expressed delight in Olagoke joining the ranks of esteemed Nigerian artists honoured with the MBE. However, Shyllon advised Olagoke to extend his award-winning efforts to Nigeria, following the footsteps of past honorees who used their skills to benefit the country.
Celebrating Olagoke’s achievement, filmmaker and art patron Bolanle Austen-Peters commended his over two decades of charitable activities and unwavering commitment to art, noting his significant representation of Nigeria abroad. Dr. Bonnie Greer OBE, a playwright, critic, and former deputy chair of The British Museum, highlighted Olagoke’s belief that his achievement transcends personal success to inspire and uplift future generations. In addition, this recognition underscores his substantial contributions to the art world and dedication to empowering young creatives from underprivileged backgrounds.
As a self-taught painter, Olagoke founded the Art-Alive Art Trust as a charity in the UK in 1997, especially aiming to provide access to the arts for young people in diverse settings, from primary schools to prisons.
Expressing his gratitude for the MBE, Olagoke emphasized its significance for Nigerian creative professionals and the diaspora contributing to the global arts and culture scene. He also acknowledged the support of his late mother, wife, and daughters, attributing the honour to a collective effort. Recognizing the impact on the lives of youth involved with the Art-Alive Arts Trust, Olagoke further emphasized the importance of nurturing and empowering the future generation, deeming the honour from the King a testament to his commitment to leaving a lasting legacy.
In the 1980s, as a young artist, Olagoke was mentored by renowned British Guyanese painter Sir Frank Bowling and the late Enwonwu, with whom he closely collaborated in Enwonwu’s studio.