Nina Fabunmi’s interest in art began as a child, she developed her artistic skills just as she learnt how to read and write but realized it was a gift when she noticed that her peers could not do draw like she could. At six, she would make small drawings and render them with colored pencils. Her dad had a spot on the wall of his studio where he pinned up all her work. He is an architect and in her sheltered upbringing, his tools of creativity and artistic influence surrounded her. As a teenager, art became her means of expression, she wrote poetry, made drawings, paintings, collage, mosaic and fabric designs with tie-dye and batik. Upon her high school graduation, she received a Proficiency Certificate in Fine Art. 

Dissuaded by her parents for the lack of faith that a career as an Artist could earn her a comfortable living, in 2001 she ended up with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Estate Management also called Real Estate. Her Department was in the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management that also housed the Fine Art department. This posed as a great advantage to her as she spent her free time in the Fine Art studios.

After her graduation, she decided to pursue her passion by embarking on a Masters in Fine Art. She knew that if she ever had to go back to school it would be on her own terms. She got on the Internet and searched for Art schools abroad and that was when she discovered the Academy of Art University. She made contact with the school, but at that time could not afford the fees so she put it on hold while she faced her corporate career.

Her only work experience in Real Estate was six months of Industrial Training. She then ventured into Broadcasting, Banking and Telecommunications. She moved from industry to industry in search for what she always had; a fulfilling career. She never stopped drawing and painting. In 2001 she got introduced to a Gallery owner who purchased five of her watercolor paintings. She was pleasantly surprised. In that same year, she made her first oil painting. She would paint and sell one- on- one to those who were privy to seeing her work as it was like a hobby to her. The Gallery owner introduced her to Art associations in Nigeria, which she eventually became a member of. She slowly integrated herself into the Art world in Nigeria and had her first Art Exhibition in 2008. Since then she had been exhibiting and selling her work while running a regular 8-5 job.

In 2011, she was commissioned to supply artwork to an establishment in Lagos Nigeria. This was the break she had been looking for and it paid her enough to pick up her dream of an MFA Fine Art painting at the Academy Of Art University.

Nina has been a docent at the Museum of the African Diaspora since August 2011. In 2012 she collaborated with the museum’s education department for the illustrations of a children’s book on the Igbo women’s war of 1929, which is now part of the diaspora curriculum. In that same year, she conducted an abstract painting workshop to the museum’s youth group after which the paintings were exhibited in the museum.

In 2013, she was awarded ‘Best of the Show’ in Bold Brush painting contest and two honorable mentions in the Turner painting contest. She also emerged as a semi-finalist at the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series.

In 2014 she won “Best of the Show” in the Artist Portfolio Magazine Portraits 18th edition and was also honored by President Elisa Stephens of the Academy of Art University for her outstanding academic achievement. Her work was auctioned at the Tom Joyner fantastic voyage thus helping raise educational funds for African American children.

Fabunmi is now has an MFA Painting from the Academy of Art University (AAU) in San Francisco. She graduated with a distinction and was highly recommended for a teaching position. She has worked as a part time member of Faculty at the AAU, has won several art awards and has been published in renowned art magazines such as the American Art Collector, Southwest Art Magazine, and Artist Portfolio Magazine.  Her work has been shown in Africa, Europe and America. Fabunmi is versatile in portraiture, figures and landscapes and is especially known for her emotionally charged expressive technique, which she achieves with the use of a palette knife. Her work has been shown in prestigious places like the California State Building, UCSF Women’s Health Center and the Museum Of The African Diaspora through the 3.9 Art Collective, an art organization which she belongs to. She is a member of the Portrait Society of America and California Art Club. Her paintings are also shown at Studio Gallery and Gallery 1317 in San Francisco, and Gallery Guichard in Chicago Illinois. Fabunmi has an active studio practice at The Point Shipyard Artists, the largest artist community in the U.S.


2014        MFA Painting, Academy Of Art University, San Francisco, California 


2016, Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series       Regional Finalist

2015, American Art Collector, Portrait Artist Directory

2015, Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, Regional Finalist

2015, Jerry’s Self Portrait Contest, Semi Finalist

2014, Society for Nigerian Artists (SNA), Distinguished Artist Award

2014, Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, Regional Finalist

2014, Creative Quarterly 37 (CQ 37), Runner Up

2014, Artist Portfolio Magazine Best of the Show, Portraits Issue 19

2014, Academy Of Art University 2 time honoree- President’s Honor,

                                                                                                Academic Achievement Award                                                

2013, Bold Brush Best of the Show, October

2013, Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series Regional Finalist

2013, Turner Painting Contest 2 Honorable Mentions

1993, Federal Government Girls College Proficiency Award, Best Student in Fine Art

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