Adebumni Gbadebo


Studio at PES STUDIOS | Working in Newark Since 2009

“Someone once told me after looking at my work, ‘Your art is our people.’ It was a simple statement, but very profound to hear. For the last 3 years I dedicated my myself to only using black human hair as my medium. I go to local barbershops, people’s homes, and random businesses in Newark to collect hair that someone had recently cut from their head. So not only does my material come from the community, my material is the people in the community.”

“In 2013, I worked as the assistant of the late, Rodney Gilbert. When I started, I thought I was assisting Rodney with the Newark Mural Program, but I quickly found out I was assisting him with everything he did, and he did a lot!

He exposed me to theater, film, art education, the mural process, prose writing, curating, fundraising, all while still a freshman at NJIT. My first professional art exhibition was through the art exhibitions he used to organize every year for Newark Open Doors. He not only a offered me the opportunity to exhibit in my first show “Stigma,” but I installed, selected the gallery space, wrote the curatorial statement, etc. Mr. Rodney knew the power of exposure and access. The arts was his activism and I carry that philosophy with me as I have grown as an art professional. Assisting Rodney was not only my most fondest memories related to the Newark art community, it was my most essential.”

Medium: Mixed Media, Human Hair