Ayodele Ganiu

Advancing Democracy in Africa through the Protection of Artistic Freedom

Mr. Ayodele Ganiu is program director of Intro Afrika, a cultural organization that advocates against social injustice through the arts. He has served as the Nigerian national coordinator and later continental coordinator for Artwatch Africa, which promotes and defends the rights of artists to freedom of expression. Between August 2017 and December 2018, he worked as program officer for Africa at Freemuse, an international human rights organization defending artistic freedom. An acclaimed artist and activist, he has dedicated his career to advocating and defending artistic freedom of expression in Africa, demanding freedom for artists persecuted for criticizing the government, coordinating emergency assistance for artists at risk, and exerting pressure on the government to reform legislation that hinders artistic freedom. In 2016 and 2017, Mr. Ganiu worked with major stakeholders in successfully advocating for the Nigerian Copyright Commission to secure the Federal Executive Council’s approval of a new copyright bill for greater protection for artists’ intellectual property. He also led the artistic community’s collaborative campaign involving the civil society that succeeded in forestalling the passage of a repressive NGO Regulatory Commission Bill. During his fellowship, Mr. Ganiu plans to develop effective advocacy strategies for enhancing and safeguarding artistic freedom of expression in Africa. He intends to disseminate his findings via websites and social media platforms, in collaboration with cultural and activist networks across the continent.