Does the name Yusuf Grillo sound familiar? You probably must have heard of the name Yusuf Grillo, if you have ever passed through the Yaba College of Technology, YCT, Yaba, Lagos, or if you are an art enthusiast.
Yusuf Grillo, the pioneer painter in the history of Nigeria, and a teacher of Fine Arts for over two decades, at the popular Yaba College of Tech., has passed. He conceded to death early hours of Monday, August 23, 2021, at the age of 87. (1934 -2021)
Grillo, apart from being a pioneer painter, was also known for educating generation of artists during his time as a lecturer, at the YCT, Lagos. He was a Head of Department, HOD, for over 25 years during his period in the College.
Professor Yusuf Adebayo Grillo, was again, the inventor of modernist art and the first president of the Society of Nigerian Artists. He was a cultural icon, committed and loyal to showcasing Yoruba culture and heritage.
Until his death, he was agreed by many, as the founding father of contemporary visual arts in Nigeria with excellent skills in drawing and painting. His choice of colour blue and the natural settings used in most of his art works, stand his paintings out, among many other art works.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Prof. Grillo started his tertiary education, and probably his career as an artist from the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria, where he received a Diploma in Fine Arts. From there, he proceeded to the Cambridge University, England, for further studies. He also travelled to Germany and the United States searching for knowledge in Arts and promoting same across the globe.
The late octogenarian, was equally famous for his artistic prowess in stained glass designs. With an outstanding career as a painter, he was responsible for stained glass artworks seen in some orthodox churches today. Some church cathedrals, still enjoying the brilliant and exceptional works of Prof. Grillo are: Saint Dominic Catholic Church, Yaba, Lagos, All Saints Anglican Church, still at Yaba, Lagos, among some other big churches.
Prof. Yusuf Adebayo Grillo, would be greatly missed by many who came in contact with him as an artist. He will be buried by 4:00 pm today at Atan Cemetery, Yaba, according to a family source.