Ibiyinka Olufemi Alao, Nigeria's Art Ambassador and arts consultant, spent time recently admiring art work at the Stonehedge Gardens in South Tamaqua as part of his American tour.

Alao, also a world-renowned painter, is spending time traveling through America, learning and passing on traditional African perspectives on many types of art.

Born in 1975, Alao started as an architect at the University Of Ile-Ife Nigeria. He shares his belief that happiness in life is a code, which we can often decode by listening to silent voices and speaking without talking.

Alao was the first place winner of the prestigious United Nations International Art Competition in 2001, where he competed among 61 countries.

His entry theme was "Girls and a Greener Environment," which chronicled the life of a girl-child from infancy to adulthood and the values she acquires along the paths of life.

At an early age, Alao said he saw what many others didn't and accepted life in "color" and "color" as a language.

"This unique perspective of life allows me to depict, in a clear and elaborate manner, what I had a hard time articulating," says Alao.

"Wisdom is what we have when we realize that vanity isn't a vice after all, and that emptiness is an opportunity to fill," he adds. "What really makes us artists is a void in our heart that is the size of the universe without us. We live our lives trying to fill this void. God himself created all to fill that void. This is how we break the codes of creation Genesis."

Today, Alao's paintings have been featured all over the world, receiving worldwide recognition.

His paintings are currently in the United States on tour and have been exhibited at the Harvard Business School, Indianapolis Art Center, African Unity Festival, Martin Luther King Art Center, Nigerian Consulate and the Nigerian Embassy.

His work is also featured at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Cultures, New York University Brownstone Salon, United Nations headquarters, Queensborough Library International Resource Center, World Bank headquarters, as well as the Empire State Building.

In between exhibitions, Alao says he finds himself giving open lectures at universities and setting up workshops in community centers across the country, such as he did in the Jim Thorpe schools two weeks ago.

Alao's website points out that all his paintings are a rare collection of his 21 years as an artist, expressing a peaceful view of integration of cultures in our world today through the use of colors.