Adejoke Tugbiyele was born in 1977 in Brooklyn, NY and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. She returned to New York going on to study architecture at the prestigious High School of Art & Design with internships at The Central Park Conservancy and art studies at The Cooper Union (Summer Program) in Manhattan. In 2002, she received a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Architecture from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Jersey School of Architecture (now Hillier College of Art & Design) and a Masters of Fine Art (MFA) in Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013.
Tugbiyele describes her practice as 'hybrid'; reflected in both her approach to making and the physical forms that manifest in many of her works. On one hand, her practice is multidisciplinary; continuously 'presenting alternative forms of expression that can be universally understood'. Hybridity also makes us more aware of the two-spirit nature of humans and therefore the potential ability to tap into different energies, spontaneously' Some of Tugbiyele's crafted objects enter into a performative practice which, she revealed, often operates as a way to 'queer dominant spaces and narratives pertaining to race, gender and sexuality'. She further suggests: 'Through performance the body can engage architecture with movement and begin healthy discourse on how space itself affects our psyche and imagination.
In 2019, Tugbiyele was awarded the Grand Prix Leridon of the prestigious Gervanne Leridon Matthias Collection based in Paris, France for her sculpture Ange, produced for BISO2019! – The First International Sculpture Biennale in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, sponsored by The French Institute.
In 2016, The Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant was presented to Tugbiyele for her outstanding record of production and clarity of purpose.
In 2015, Foreign Policy named Tugbiyele one of 100 Leading Global Thinkers and in 2017 invited her to sit on the distinguished panel "Arts & Gender Equity" at CultureSummit 2017 – Abu Dhabi, UAE.
In 2014, Tugbiyele was granted a U.S. Student Fulbright Award to travel to Lagos, Nigeria and conduct art research related to gender and sexuality. While there, she toured the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Oshun Sacred Grove, Oshogbo, Nigeria, contributing to a video she Produced, Directed and Edited, AfroOdyssey IV: 100 Years Later (2014) later featured in a group exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland.
In 2014, Women in The World invited Tugbiyele to Lincoln Center in New York City to sit on a panel with world-renown Filmmaker Roger Ross Williams and LGBTQ Activist Claire Byarugaba.
During graduate studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) – Rinehart School of Sculpture, Tugbiyele received The William M. Phillips '54 Scholarship for Best Figurative Sculpture in 2013 and The Amalie Rothschild '34 Rinehart Awards in 2012.
Tugbiyele works in diverse mediums including traditional African brooms, bronze, wire, fabric, wood and LED Lights amongst others to create exquisitely intricate two and three dimensional works which are on occasion integrated into moving performance works. She often weaves elements of photography into her practice - transforming contemporary and historic iconic images into ink drawings or mixed media works, and by engaging in collaborations while critically observing her own gaze in the studio.
Tugbiyele's works have been mentioned and reviewed in many leading publications and she is regularly invited to contribute as a panelist in dialogues hosted by reputable institutions around the world.
Her works grace important corporate, public and private collections including The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; The Museum of Arts and Design, New York City; National Museum of African Art - Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York City; The Newark Museum, Newark; Daimler Contemporary Berlin, Berlin; Sakhile&Me Art Gallery, Frankfurt; and Credit Suisse Bank, Global