Monday, March 22, 2010

The Legacy: Exhibition of Works by Bruce Onobrakpeya

Grillo Pavillion Ikorodu

Cordially invite you to
the 2nd Visual Art Fiesta


Bruce Onobrakpeya is widely considered to be the "PRIDE OF ALL NIGERIANS". In 2006, he became a Recipient of "The Living Human Treasure Prize" jointly Awarded by UNESCO and the Nigerian Government. In 2009 he also celebrated 50 years of non- stop Studio Practice in Nigeria

Date: Saturday 3rd April, 2010

Venue: Grillo Pavillion 1, Sule Oyesola Gbadamosi Crescent
off Obafemi Awolowo Way, Oke Ota Ona ( Near Grammer School) Ikorodu, Lagos.

Time: From 11a.m. prompt

Chairman : Professor Yusuf Grillo
Founding Member and First President of the Society of Nigerian Artists


11a.m. : Lecture by Prof. Dele Jegede
Department of Art, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA.

1p.m. Viewing of Essentials of Bruce Onobrakpeya + his disciples
inside the Pavillion
(Curators - Ejiro Onobrakpeya, Hakeem Balogun, Olu Ajayi and Toyin Tubi)

2p.m. Lunch and Garden Party

3p.m. Interactive Session
( Jahman Anikulakpo, Toyin Akinosho)


Ekpo Udo Udoma
080 2336 5579

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ekiti Kete: Exhibition by Olusegun Fayemi

The Government and Good People of Ekiti State

Will be delighted at your esteemed presence
as you honour us at an Outstanding Art Exhibition and Celebration of our Cultural Essence

The Exhibition is a Solo Exhibition of Multi-Media Paintings and Photographs on Canvas

Titled: Ekiti Kete

By Prof. Alfred Olusegun Fayemi Renowned International Ekiti Artist based in New York

The Exhibition shall be declared opened under the Distinguished Leadership of the Executive Governor of Ekiti State.
His Excellency Engineer Segun Oni

Opening at 10 a.m.
on 28th April 2010

@ The Governor’s Office Reception and Foyer, Oke Baraki, Ado Ekiti,Ekiti State

Guest Of Honour: Barrister Gbenga Oyebode MFR
Chairman Access Bank PLC

Father of the Day: Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, OFR

Exhibition runs till 2nd of May, 2010
9:00 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily

On Saturday and Sundays 2:00p.m. – 4.00p.m.

RSVP only

Bolanle Bruce Mudiare Onobrakpeya
080 33041856 0705-634-6458

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Africa Now New York Auction of Contemporary art

NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams’ March 10th ‘Africa Now’ sale was met with great enthusiasm by both American and International buyers. Taking place at the auctioneers’ Madison Avenue galleries this was the first sale of modern & contemporary African art ever to be held in New York. Consisting of 140 lots the auction featured work by both new and established artists from fourteen African Nations.

As part of the celebrations surrounding the sale the ‘Keep a Child Alive’ charity and Afren partnered with Bonhams to host a reception which took place the evening before the sale.

Giles Peppiatt, Director of African Art says, “We welcomed the opportunity to bring this innovative sale category to New York, and the inaugural sale of Modern and Contemporary art in the United States proved a real success, with top prices paid for exceptional works from some of the leaders in this emerging field. We also thoroughly enjoyed the evening reception held the night before the auction at Bonhams, where leading members of New York’s African community joined us to celebrate this important landmark for the American art market.”

Work by the acclaimed Ben Enwonwu (Nigerian, 1917-1994) lead the way claiming five out of the ten top ten lots, including the first three. The artist’s ‘Dancing Boys’ claimed top lot, achieving $91,500 against a pre-sale of $80,000-120,000 and equaling the current world record.

A new world auction record was set for Bruce Onobrakpeya (Nigerian, born 1932) for a mixed media piece titled ‘Environmental Regeneration’ which fetched $42,700 against a pre-sale of $35,000-45,000.

Other works drawing noteworthy prices were ‘Sabada’ by Yusuf Grillo (Nigerian, born 1934) which brought $57,950 and El Anatsui’s (Ghanaian, born 1944) Ondambo ‘Sculpture I’ which drew $27,450.

The next sale of ‘Modern & Contemporary African Art’ will be held in London in Spring 2011. The illustrated auction catalog for the March 10th sale will be online at in the weeks following the auction.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book Review:Nigerian Artistry

Title: Nigerian Artistry
Author: Pat Oyelola
Publisher: Mosuro Publishers, 2010
Page Number: 328
Figures: 431
Reviewer: Sola Olorunyomi
NIGERIAN Artistry is the title that Pat Oyelola gives her new book, but it smacks of an unacceptable humility, for this artistry is itself a signifier of a hidden homophonic referent – a chip of Nigeria?fs art history.

Surely, not designed as a formal pronouncement on art history, the examined art works seem to defy self-effacing authorial intentions: They narrate in settings and mimesis, manners that gesture an art time-line that recedes into antiquity. Even in their supposed inert states as textile, bead works, pottery or metalwork, they evoke creative agencies and, albeit obliquely, date the historiography of artistic production in this land, prior to the Berlin Conference. No doubt, there is sufficient gestation and reflection in this new title, and one gets the feeling that in the process of its coming-into-being it was tested out with students, professional colleagues and the coterie of the art circles in Nigeria.

How else does one explain this journeying back in time that straddles the, circa, 900 BC Nok terracotta head showing elaborate coiffure, 900 AD Igbo-Ukwu beaded bronze ornament, 1000 BC drawing of decorated pottery from Iwo Eleru and an 11th to 14th century AD Anthropomorphic Vessel from the Cross River co-mingling with Adire Eleko, dolls from Argungu and Yinka Davies’ avant garde hair-beads? We are invariably turned witnesses to the acknowledgement of sameness and difference, perhaps only matched by Nigeria’s eco-diversity. Here is the source of the offering’s unusualness; it celebrates juxtaposition: The ancient and the modern, the realist and the surrealist, the sacred and the profane – all flung out in 328 pages for inevitable cohabitation. And in spite of the overt apolitical texture of the book’s presentation, this format underscores a compelling metaphor on Nigeria’s laboured socio-political space.
The scope of Nigerian Artistry is broad and extensive, with a structural pattern that is equally diverse. Both in text and image, it speaks; it speaks exploring body art, textiles, beads and bead-work, pottery, calabash decoration, mat-making and basketry, wood-carving, metalwork and a section on Connections. This is complemented by a detailed biography and index. No wonder it received the endorsement of one of the commanding intelligences of modern Nigerian art – Bruce Onobrakpeya – who described the book as “a narrative epic and a reference work offering comprehensive information on many aspects of Nigerian art.”
In his foreword, he observes that “Like the griot with the memory and raiment of the chameleon, Oyelola takes us on a journey through time and the art of this geographical entity, Nigeria.”

Both author and the subject matter seem inextricably tied to a clime-hypothesis. This complexity is readily evinced in the dynamic unravelling of raw materials and motifs of artistic production across the vast geographical expanse of the country from the evergreen mangrove and rain forest of the south to the increasingly sparse vegetation of the savannah and the northern Sahel. While the forest region may exhibit a greater variety of artistry in wood, pods and vines, an outcome of its vegetation, Oyelola nonetheless directs our attention to a vast array of other cross-cutting products and motifs such as metal work, fabrics and the bead-works and body art. Particularly in relation to body art, she demonstrates the infinite possibility of art, extending beyond the cave wall, murals and calabash to the human body. Wherever these traditional artists had found a platform, they exhibited – such as we find in the section on Body Art where the men, women and children become a canvas for facial inscription, belly tattoo or more. Prominent here are the Fulani, Bini and Yoruba tattoo patterns, which have sometimes been anticipated centuries back as with the bronze pendant from Igbo Ukwu and the Ife bronze head, both showing facial marks dating back 8th-15th century A.D., respectively.

The author provides the informing ethnography and social biography of stylisation. Of hairstyles she gives details on their social and, sometimes, sacred roots. We learn about the modern, high-crested Yoruba women?fs hair-style, a motif that could be found in 19th and early 20th century carvings in the same region. She alludes to the fact that this style is still worn by priests of the deity, Sango, although we know that legendary narrations of this 15th century monarch of Oyo have always acknowledged him in plait. Sometimes, the hairstyle portrays stages in the woman’s life-cycle, as child, adolescent, married, parent and aged. Beyond Nigeria?fs shores, Oyelola also demonstrates transatlantic connections with evidence of the ‘Afro’ hairstyle, and plumbs into the depths of the Civil Rights Movement in America and notable figures like Angela Davis for causative agents. As with this section, all through the book, she stresses process such that the reader could have a fair idea on the procedure of production of a particular style. In this sense, the ‘art-historical’ angle of the narrative keeps popping up as the various exhibits also acquire the status of date markers. One could list some reflecting the current affairs of the times; ever heard of hairstyles with such coded names as ‘Naira and Kobo,’ ‘Kalakuta’ or ‘The War is Over’? Now and again naming could derive from nature: ‘Spider,’ ‘Snail,’ ‘Dog’s Ear,’ ‘Crab,’ ‘Pineapple’, ‘Horns’ and, wait a minute – ‘Snake!’ Such is Oyelola’s sense of detail that you also get a chip of the cultural economy of style production for the would-be hair-artist. She informs: “A skilled hair-artist can operate from her home, the market or a salon: she does not need elaborate equipment to create her styles.”

Nigerian Artistry is a design in breadth and nuance. In exploring the nation’s textile it accounts for, albeit in detail, a wide range of forms. Getting personal now, I think Oyelola’s favourite is the blue vat dye on cotton fabric called Adire; even if her couture is nuanced, I can hardly recall her without a patch of this indigo. She nudges our memory on other such pattern dyeing as tie-and-dye Adire, and reminds that this is the oldest form of resist patterning in Africa although the semantic field of the word Adire has expanded to include any cloth patterned by other forms of resist technique which may include cassava paste or wax batik. Forms of the resist technique include Adire Oniko (tied with raffia), Adire Eleso (tied around seeds, creating small circular patterns), Adire Alabere (done in hand-stitch with raffia) and Adire Eleko (with corn-pap applied for resist patterns).

Oyelola shows that in the hands of contemporary artists like Nike Okundaiye pattern dyeing becomes quite adventurous, exhibiting fresh creativity in form like the modern wax batik Adire, stencilled Adire Eleko and patch-work on denim. The outcrop couture, especially with the admixture of Aso Oke, Akwete, and the hand-woven fabric, has found space along the diverse social rungs in the country. It has received endorsement from royalty as seen in the regal garb, yet in social engagements such as wedding, graduation ceremonies, casual wears and interior decorations, the embroidered cloth has acquired added meaning.

The book equally adopts a similar format in examining mat-making and basketry, recognised as sharing similar methods with the loom tradition of cloth-making. After exploring the more traditional forms of metalwork, wood-carving, calabash decoration and bead-work, the author invites us to a clash of imagination in the section titled Connections. This section is partly peopled by neo-traditional and modern artists, and the author?fs intention seems to be focused on contemporary art-making for primarily aesthetic consideration. She also seems to show the intrinsic interconnectedness of the region’s art across time. And this is a connection that could also be inter-genre in the manner of the works of the master print-maker, Bruce Onobrakpeya, which often derive from textile art, particularly the Yoruba cassava paste resist design. Of this, Oyelola notes: “His works contain direct references to the old indigo cloths through his use of geometric motifs borrowed from them and used as background fillers but he also abstracts design principles from Adire Eleko and employs them in the organisation of the picture surface.”

Connections is the zone of connection of the complex whole of Nigeria’s art and its major artists. It is also a querying moment of notions of originality, tradition and the indigenous. The intertext in this section is quite intricate, sometimes direct, apparent or merely coincidental – stressing cultural universals. For one, on origins, we merely approximate Nigerianess for works whose primeval creators could as well have emigrated from this shores or gone extinct. And on the artifacts, there appears a constant habit of reconstitution of forms. The Esu symbol begins to wear beads at some point in its long journey to contemporary modernity, in the same manner that objects once held sacred and distinguished by courtly habitation have crept into public imagination and use. There are now beaded sheaths for the iron staff of Orisa Oko, a beaded pouch for an Ifa priest – items that would have to be reworked into the narrative verses of divinity and deity.

The diasporic extension of this continuity equally expresses major shifts as seen in the 1990 photograph of the sculpture of the deity, Obatala by Jose Rodriguez. This constant mutation is further seen in the contact between Arabia (11th century A.D.), Portugal (15th century A.D.) and West Africa. The visitors provided raw materials that were reworked. Over time, both raw materials and craft were, sometimes, considered indigenous to West Africa. Benin artists worked extensively with bronze and brass, metal items that do not occur in the ground. This new mode of artistic expression owes its possibility to the alloyed metals derived from copper and tin, in the case of bronze, and copper and zinc, in the case of brass – two imported metal items. These factors underscore the deeply diffusionist potential of cultural production.

Oyelola seems driven by an anxiety to ensure that an historical heritage gets documented appropriately. Apparently she does not want to see known, historical experiences and artifacts later becoming symbols requiring the expertise of decipherers – such as happened with ancient hieroglyphs. Lest our contemporary experience turn a sudden cipher. And early comments have been coming. Louis Oladunmoye, an art historian, thinks the book will encourage creativity among the younger generation and monitor teachers to pattern their students towards ornamental display of Nigerian styles of creativity.

Another colleague of his, Mike Adeoye, reasons that Oyelola’s book is a balanced and profound view of the Nigerian indigenous art industry cutting across all levels of artistic creativity in the country. The artist and art scholar, Peju Layiwola, of the University of Lagos, finds Nigerian Artistry highly illustrative, a good guide to the art of Nigeria, and very much in the mode of Oyelola?fs 1976 publication – Everyman’s Guide to Nigerian Art as it provides an overview of various craft traditions in Nigeria.

The author, Patricia Oyelola (Pat in Nigerian art circles) was born on November 20, 1938 in London. British/Nigerian by marriage, her training was originally in languages. She graduated with a B.A. Honours in French and Latin from the University of London, and has put her knowledge to service in Nigeria.

I wanted to know how she acquired her taste, knowledge and skill. “Through visiting museums early in life”, she quipped.
Much later in life (late 1958), her husband bought her a gift entitled African Folktales and Sculpture, which further excited her interest in African art. Later, Art History was introduced to the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan (1981/82) under Professor Sabiru Biobaku as Director. This was an early teaching component to complement research, the Institute?fs primary mandate. Art History became big and very popular and Oyelola then took a course in African Art from the Department of Archeology. Later she took a Ph.D in Art History from the same Institute. Pat Oyelola feels quite upset about many Nigerian artists who do not document their works, but is quick to make an exception in Bruce Onobrapkeya, whom she identifies as a “brilliant exception.”

Dr. Oyelola takes advantage of this edition to introduce the reading public to many other Nigerian artists. Besides Obobrakpeya, you encounter Sokari Douglas-Camp in her studio, Obiora Udechukwu on The Road to Abuja, Kunle Filani’s Vestiges of the Past and Moyo Okedeji’s untitled soil on canvas motif. Also included are the works of Tola Wewe, Yekini Folorunso, Agbo Folarin, Senabu Oloyede, Ademola Onibokuta, Sangodare Gbadegesin, Nike Okundaiye, Jimoh Buraimoh, Ademola Akintola, El Anatsui, Susanne Wenger and Ulli Beier.

Add to this the rarity of a publisher called Mosuro. The editorial requirements of Mosuro Publishers is rather too rigorous for the hodge-podge that now characterises publishing in the country, hence its titles seem deliberately infrequent. The author had earlier noted that she could not think up a better option than Mosuro, if only as a mark of courtesy to the historical reconstruction of the nation?fs artistry. Headquartered on Magazine Road in Ibadan, Mosuro Publishers is increasingly fanning across the country. In 2008 it came out with A Gift of Sequins: Letters to My Wife by the late idealist Lt. Colonel, Victor Banjo of the civil war fame. And even as Nigerian Artistry berths, it’s doing so with a title from Nigeria’s master of verse, J.P. Clark, whose collected poems, Full Tide, Mosuro has finally put to bed.

Nigerian Artistry strikes one as art, memoried on one another, thereby serving as a constantly evolving aesty and agency. The different genres and sub-genres of styles fehetic loop but also journeying back and forth in time. Is it a coincidence that the last illustrative figure (9.54) is the Sankofa? That sagely bird of imagination in Ghanaian myth and lore, emblematised by a bird looking at its own tail, and urging us to go back and's not too late...never too late!

Bruce Onobrakpeya: Celebrating 50 years of Professional Studio Practice

Bruce Onobrakpeya


DATE OF BIRTH: 30th August, 1932.

PLACE OF BIRTH: Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, Nigeria.



Ughelli, Sapele and Benin 1941 – 1951

Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria, Nigeria. 1957 – 1962

Studied printmaking techniques at the London Museum. 1966


Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts (Dip. F.A.)
Arts Teacher’s Certificate (ATC)


(a) Arts Teacher, Western Boys’ High School, Benin City 1953 – 1956

(b) Arts Teacher, Ondo Boy’s High School 1957

(c) Printmaking workshops under Ru Van Rossen Organised by Ulli Beier in Mbari Artists & Writers Club, Ibadan 1961, Mbari Mbayo Oshogbo, 1963.

And Department of African Studies Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife 1973

(d) Arts Teacher, St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos 1963 – 1980

(e) Artists-in-Residence in Haystack Mountain of Art and Craft,
Maine, U.S.A. 1975.

(f) Artists-in-Residence (Associate Professor), Elizabeth City State
University, North Carolina, U.S.A. 1979

(g) Artist-in-Residence, Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan 1984

(h) Artist-in-Resident, Tacoma Public School, Tacoma, Washington State, U.S.A. 1989

(i) Artist-in-Residence, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare 1991

(j) Artist-in-Residence, 1991 MOJA: An African American Arts
Festival, Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A.

(k) Initiated and participated in the 1st Harmattan Workshop at Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, Nigeria. 1998

(l) Organized and participated in the 2nd Harmattan Workshop at Agbarha-
Otor, Delta State, Nigeria, 1999.

(m) Organized and participated in the 3rd Harmattan Workshop at Agharha-Otor, Delta State, Nigeria. 2000

(n) Organized and participated in the 4th Harmattan Workshop at Agharha-Otor, Delta State, Nigeria. 2002

Visitor and Guest Artist of UCLA Museum of Cultural History at Exhibition
Ways of the Rivers: An Exhibition of Arts and Environment of the Niger Delta.


1959 First one-man exhibition, Ughelli, Delta State, Nigeria.

1960 Group show of contemporary Nigerian art in the Independence
Exhibition, Lagos.

1962 Art From Africa, Phelp-Stokes Fund, New York.

1965 Commonwealth Exhibition of Art, Cardiff and London.

1967 Biennale of Illustrations, Bratislavia.

1967 Group show of nine Nigerian artists. Show toured London,
Moscow and Warsaw.

1969 International Book Fair, Bologna

1970 St. Andrew’s School, Middletown, Delaware Howard University,
Washington, D.C.

1971 Commonwealth Art Gallery, London.

1972 Gallery, Watatu, Nairobi
Newark State College, Newark, New Jersey
Art Society of the International Monetary Fund, Washington, D.C.

1973 Afro Centrum Gallery, Berlin.African Heritage Gallery, Nairobi

1974 Contemporary African Festival, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago,
and Museum of Natural History, New York.

1975 Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, Washington, D.C. Sponsored by African-
American, Women’s Association.

1976 Gallery of Litterio Calapai, Glencoe, Illinois.

1977 FESTAC ’77 Lagos.

1977 The Best of Africa, Toronto
Saint Paul in Contemporary Art, Vatican Museum, Rome

1978 Tenth one-man exhibition at the Goethe Institute, Lagos.

1979 Participated in the Sixth International Print Biennale, Cartwright Hall, Lister Part, Bradford, England

1979 Held a one-man exhibition of prints in Amersfoort Holland. The show was arranged by Mrs. DeVries and sponsorship was by DHV of Lagos and Amersfoort. It was opened by Prof. Ru Van Rossem of Tilburg University.

1980 Held a one-man exhibition of prints (with emphasis on printing on metal foil) at the Best of Africa Gallery, Toronto, Canada.

1980 One-man exhibition in Glatt Centrum, Zurish, Switzerland. It was sponsored by CIBA-GEIGY and SGS.

1981 – 1982 One-man exhibition of prints and paintings arranged by Galarie Glahe and opened by Nigerian Ambassador to Bonn H.E. Mohammed Lawal Rafindadi.

1982 Had a one-man exhibition of prints and paintings during the official opening of African Universities Press offices and Warehouse at the Oluyole Lay-out, Ibadan.

1983 Held a one-man exhibition of prints and painting titled Sabbatical Experiments 1978 – 1983, co-sponsored by Goethe Institute (German Cultural Institute) NIJ House, Victoria Island, Lagos, and the Society of Nigerian Artists (Lagos State Branch). The guest of honour at the opening was Susanne Wenger from Oshogbo.

1984 Held a one-man exhibition titled Bruce Onobrakpeya: 25 years of creative search, at the Foyer and Courtyard of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.

1984 Held a one-man show of plastograph, prints and plastocast relief paintings to mark the Netherlands/Belgium Week at Goethe Institute Victoria Island, Lagos.

1986 Exhibition titled Symbols of Ancestral Groves at the Whitney Young Centre (United States Information Service), Lagos.

1988 Exhibition of Sahelian Masquerades, Italian Cultural Institute Lagos

1989 The Sahelian Masquerade was shown in:
Kew Garden London, Greenwich Citizen Gallery near London, and Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington State.

1990 Participation in Group show titled African Contemporary Art-Changing Traditions, organized by studio Museum, Harlem, New York. Participated in the 44th Venice Biennale.

1990 The Horns of Freedom, National Museum Onikan, Lagos in honour of Wole Soyinka at his 50th birthday.

1990 Riegelsberger Gallery Mannheim, Germany. A show of recent art works sponsored by ABB (Asea Brown Boveri).

1990 Unity Through Arts, National Museum Onikan, Lagos sponsored by Guinness (Nigeria) Limited.

1990 Nigeria Images, Annual art show by Society of Nigerian Artists at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.

1991 Rebirth, Onime Arts Gallery, Fatai Atere Way, Matori, Mushin, Lagos.

1991 Sahelian Masquerade, exhibition in National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

1991 Sahelian Masquerades, Gibbes Museum of Art Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A. College of Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A; African American Gallery Charleston, South Carolinas, U.S.A.

1992 Zaria Art Society Exhibition: New Consciousness, ABU, Zaria.

1992 Through the Sands of Time, Didi Musuem, Victoria Island, Lagos.

1992 Bruce Onobrakpeya : A retrospective. One of the events which was organized by Society of Nigerian Artists to mark the artist’s 60th birthday at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.

1993 The Spirit in Ascent accompanied with a 270-page monograph, a press conference and a symposium were sponsored by The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited and launched by Chief Philip Asiodu, Hon. Secretary of Petroleum and National Resources at the NIIA Victoria Island, Lagos. The Society of Nigerian Artists was a co-organizer of the events.

1993 Grapholies – Abidjan Biennale ‘93

1994 Inaugural Group Show at the Pushkin Art and Antique Gallery Victoria Island, Lagos

1995 Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa – Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. One of the events of Britain’s global showcase Africa ’95.

1996 Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa – Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden. Ivorex Engravings including the Shrine II entered for the Seven Stories About Modern Art exhibited in London and Malmo.

1997 Richard Singletary Collection, Partsmouth, U.S.A

1998 Wise Art Gallery, Norfolk State University, U.S.A.
Christine Gerlach Show, German Community, Abuja, Nigeria.

1999 Exhibition of prints and paintings Alliance Francaise, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Promoter of Nigerian Art-Goethe Institute, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Christine Gerlach Show, German Community, Abuja, Nigeria.

1999 1st and 2nd Harmattan Workshop Exhibition, Aina Onabolu House, National Gallery of Modern Art, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.

1999 Amos Tutuola Show – Folklore inspired art in Honour of the novelist – Aina Onabolu House, National Gallery of Art, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.

2000 Exhibition of paintings, prints sculptures, installations etc by Otu-Ewena Artists, Aina Onabolu, Building National Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos.

2001 Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis – Tate Modern Gallery London.

2002 3rd Harmattan workshop Exhibition, Aina Onabolu Building, National Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos.

JULY 2002 Exhibition of paintings, Sculpture Mixed Media prints ceramics and installations by Otu-Ewena Artists International, Aina Onabolu, Building National Theatre Complex, Iganmu. Exhibition was in honour of Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya at 70.

AUG 2002 Bruce Onobrakpeya : Window Into his Art: Retrospective Exhibition of selected works from various periods of his artistic career spanning 1957 to date, held at the National Gallery of Art , Aina Onabolu Building, National Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos

AUG 2002 Participated in Exhibition organized by African Foundation for the Arts in conjunction with the Society of Nigerian Artists in Exhibition in honour of Tonie Emordi at Mmili - Mma Gallery Victoria Island, Lagos.

SEPT 2002 Exhibition: RHYTHMS OF THE FORGE: A presentation of the fourth Harmattan Workshop Series (Agbarha Otor), at the French Cultural Center, Kingsway Road ,Ikoyi, Lagos. The presentation comprised lectures demonstrations, seminar and exhibition of artworks selected from the Four Harmattan Workshops so far held i.e. 1998,1999,2000 & 2002.

SEPT 2002 Exhibition: JEWELS OF THE CRUCIBLE: This exhibition presented works produced at the 4th Harmattan Workshop, showcasing recent developments in jewelry bronze casting, wood carving and several other media. Works of the Otu Ewena Artists International were also shown at the Nimbus art Center, Maitama Sule Street, Ikoyi Lagos.

OCT 2002 Participated in Exhibition: RHYTHMS OF FULFILMENT organized by Akwa Ibom Chapter of the Society of Nigerian Artists. Exhibition was in honour of Bruce Onobrakpeya at 70 and was opened by Governor Victor Obong Attah of Akwa Ibom State and featured the works of over 30 artists.

NOV 2002 Exhibition: 7th INTERNATIONAL GROUP SHOW AND ART FESTIVAL. This exhibition was organized by the Global Culture Center in collaboration with National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Enugu, featuring several artists from all over the world including Japan.

2002 Ways of the Rivers: Arts and Environment of the Niger Delta: Showed Installation Akporode at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. Exhibition expected to tour various cities in the U.S.

2003 Portfolio of Art and Literature. Exhibition / Book Launch at Nimbus Gallery,
Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos.

2005 Commonwealth Show (CHOGM), Abuja

2005 Art and Democracy, a group exhibition mounted during 5th anniversary of Democracy in Nigeria; held at Nelrose Hotel, Asaba, Delta State.

2006 WHERE GODS AND MORTALS MEET. - New York, Columbia and Washington D.C., U.S.A.

MAY 2006 Jewels of Nomadic Images, held at Quintessence Gallery,
Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos.

MAY 2006 Dakar Biennial for Arts (Dak’Art 2006)Dakar Senegal.

FEB 2007 Living Masters Exhibition, coordinated by Mydrim Gallery, Held at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.

APRIL 2008 Auction / Exhibition organized by Arthouse Contemporary Limited, at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

2008 October Rain. Society of Nigerian Artists (S.N.A) group exhibition – Held at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.

NOV 2008 Auction / Exhibition organized by Arthouse Contemporary Limited, at Civic Centre,Victoria Island, Lagos.

MAY 2008 Art Expo, organized by Art Gallery Association of Nigeria (AGAN) in conjunction with National Gallery of Art (NGA), held at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.

APRIL 2009 Auction / Exhibition organized by Arthouse Contemporary Limited, at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

March 2010 Africa Now. Auction/ Exhibition at Bonhams, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.

APRIL 2009 Africa Now. Auction / Exhibition at Bonham, London, United Kingdom.

3rd April 2010 Retrospective Exhibition of Bruce Onobrakpeya titled : The Legacy at the Grillo Pavillion in Ikorodu, Lagos Nigeria.

APRIL 2010, African Art Auction 1 organized by Nike Art and Culture Foundation Lagos, Nigeria

APRIL 2010 Terra Kulture/ Golden Jubilee of Nigeria Art Auction, Lagos, Nigeria.

MAY 2010, 'Evolving Currents", Art exhibition in celebration of 50 years of Nigerian visual arts in honour of 50 years of Independence. Exhibition was organized by Iroko Art, Abuja, Nigeria.

15th MAY, 2010. Africa Auction/ Philip de Pury and company, New York, U.S.A.


i) Scholarship to Nigeria College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria to study Fine Art, 1958.

ii) Third Prize, Gottschalk Textile Competition NCAST, Zaria, 1559.

Founding Member of Society of Nigerian Artist, 1964

iii) Honourable mention for Children Book Illustration, Bratislava, 1967.

iv) Culture America – United State of America Travel Award, 1970

v) British Council Award to visit London Art Institutions and Museums, 1969.

vi) U.S.A State Department Award to tour America on Programme America Culture, 1970.

vii) Pope Paul VI Gold Medal for Painting Life of St. Paul’s 1977.

viii) Fulbright-Hays Award by America CIES (Council for International Exchange of
Scholars), 1979

ix) Fifth Triennale – India Award of Silver Medal and Twenty Thousand Rupees, 1982

x) Presented to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, 1982.

xi) Certificate of Honour in recognition of distinguished services contributed to the development of Nigerian Art by the Council of Management of Asele Institute, Nimo, Anambra State, Nigeria, 1985.

xii) 1985 Solidra Circle of Lagos (Founded 1947) Award for having excelled in Printmaking and Deep Etching, Lagos, November 1985

xiii) Mentioned in the Czekosovak encyclopedia, 1986

xiv) Travel grant by British Council to study and tour Britain, 1987

xv) Appointed Board Member of Nigerian Copyright Council, Lagos, August, 1989.

xvi) SNA (Society of Nigerian Artists) award in recognition of contribution November, 1989

xvii) Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters by the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, November, 1989

xviii) United State Information Service Travel Award to attend the opening of the exhibition of Contemporary African Art – Changing Traditions, The Studio Museum, New York, January, 1990.

xix) Classique Magazine – Star Award of achievement for contribution immensely to society on Night of a Hundred Star, 11th August, 1990.

xx) Bendel State Merit Award 1990 -- A Certificate of Merit and Gold Medal in recognition of outstanding contribution to the development of Bendel State (Nigeria) a humanity in Arts and Culture, November,

xxi) Member of International Jury which adjudicated Zimbabwe Heritage ’91 in Harare, July 24th toAugust 2nd, 1991.

xxii) Delta State Government Award for Excellence, 1995.

xxiii) President Saddam Hussein Travel Award to visit artists, art institutions, cultural and historic places in Iraq.

xxiv) Award – Glimpses of Our Stars.

xxv) 4th Annual Distinguished lecture, National Gallery of Art, 1999.

xxvi) Mentioned in The News Magazine’s “People in the News” – A survey of 100 outstanding Nigerians of the 20th century.

xxvii) Outstanding Pioneer of Nigerian Art Award by the Fine Arts
Students’ Association of the Obafemi Awolowo University (May 2002).

xxviii MFR (Member of the Order of the Republic of Nigeria) 2002.

xxix) Art Master Per-Excellence award by the St. Gregory’s College Old Students Association Ikoyi Lagos. In grateful recognition of outstanding contribution to the Development of the Nation. St, Gregory’s College Old Students Association (1928-2003 set). January 26 2003.

xxx) Grand Fellow of Nigerian Art Award. In recognition of his achievements as the artist’s teacher, father, mentor and founder of Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation (BOF) and on whose instance the Harmattan Workshop is held for the improvement of artist skills. Society of Nigerian Artists (S.N.A.), Akwa Ibom State chapter. September 23 2004.

xxxi) In recognition of his contributions to the promotion of Art and Artists in Nigeria. -School of Art and Design, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Nigeria.

xxxii) Honours Award. In recognition of outstanding personal accomplishment, as an internationally acclaimed artist and distinguished alumnus given by Western Boys High School, Benin City old boys association, Lagos State branch. 2006.

xxxiii) Lifetime Accomplishment Award for Arts by Delta state Tourism Board. March 2006.

xxxiv) Honours Award for Promoter of Nigerian Culture through Visual Arts. National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC). March 30 2006.

xxxv) Living Human Treasure. In recognition of invaluable contribution in the area of “Artist-Traditional Craftsmanship”. Award given by Federal Government of Nigeria in collaboration with UNESCO. May 2006.

xxxvi) Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to the development of Nigerian art industry by African Art Resource Centre (A.A.R.C.). December 9 2006.

xxxviii)Outstanding Art Promoter award in commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Department of Fine Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Oyo, Nigeria.

xxxix) Lifetime Achievement Award by St. Gregory’s College Alumni Foundation. U.S.A. August 18 2008

Master of the council of the Guild Award. Presented by the Guild of Professional Artist May 2009.


University of Lagos Library, Akoka, Lagos.
Catholic Chapel, University of Ife, Ile-Ife
St. Paul’s Church, Ebute-Metta, Lagos.
National Gallery of Modern Art, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.
St. John the Evangelist Church, Shogunle, Ikeja.
Museum of African and African-American Art and Antiquities, Buffalo, New York.
Eda Lord Demarest Memorial African Art Collection, University of Redlands.
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Vatican Museum, Rome.
National Museum of African Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Hvittrask Suomi – Finland (Eliel Saarinen’s Studio Home and Exhibition)
Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja.
Leader of Victory Museum, Baghad, Iraq.


BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA Published by Robert Barde, The Best of African
(Nigeria’s Master Printmakers) Art Gallery, Canada, 1979

BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA: Published BY Oscar Kneubuehler, NGA Apapa Lagos and Dr. J. Waidvogel (CIBAGEIGY) AG Basel, 1980.

BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA Sabbatical Experiments (1978 – 1983) with Introduction by Prof. Babatunde Lawal by Ovuomaroro Art Gallery, Lagos, 1983

BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA 25 Years of Creative Search with Introduction by C.O. Adepegba, Ovuomaroro Gallery, Lagos, 1984

BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA Symbols of Ancestral Groves with Introduction by Prof. Babatunde Lawal Ovuomaroro Gallery, Lagos, 1985.

BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA Sahelian Masquerades, Ovuomaroro Gallery, Lagos, 1985.

BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA Print Notes and Comments No. 8 (Portfolio of Contemporary Nigerian Print), Published by Ovuomaroro Gallery.

BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA The Spirit in Ascent,
Introduced by Dele Jegede,
Ovuomaroro Gallery, Lagos.

BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA Poems and Lithograph Lagos, 1992
(Print Notes and Comments No. 9) Ovuomaroro Gallery.


ACHEBE, CHINUA No Longer At Ease, Heinemann, London

BABALOLA, ADEBOYE Iwe Ede Yoruba, Apa Kini, Longmans of Nigeria 1961

DELISS, CLEMENTINE Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa,
published by White Chapel Art Gallery, London, 1985.

EKWENSI, CYPRAIN An African Night’s Entertainment, AUP Lagos, 1962


HAEGER, BARBARA Africa: On Her Schedule is Written A Change AUP, Ibadan 1981

NIGERIAN EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE, 1969 May Your Kingdom Come,Geoffery Chamman, London

NWANKWO, NKEM Tales Out of School
(Cover illustration), AUP, Ibadan.

NZEKWU, ONUORA AND Eze Goes to School (Cover Illustration),CROWDER, MICHAEL AUP, Ibadan, 1986.

ONADIPE, KOLA Magic Land of the Shadows,AUP, Lagos, 1970

ONAPIDE, KOLA Sugar Girl, AUP, 1964.

T.N.O. QUACOOPNE West African Religion, AUP,Ibadan, 1969.

TAIWO OLADELE The Hunter And The Hen, AUP, Ibadan, 1969

SOYINKA AND FAGUNWA A Forest of a Thousand Demons, Nelson, London.

UWEMEDIMO, ROSEMARY Akpan and the Smugglers, AUP, Ibadan, 1965.


AIPOH, MARY ANNE U. Religious Themes in Bruce Onobrakpeya’s Works,
An unpublished dissertation presented to the Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, as part of the fulfillment for the Degree B.A. (Fine Arts) 1983, 53 pages.

FULLANI, GIOVANNI (E) San Paolo Nell” Art Contemporanea (Musei Vaticani (1977) page 112,176

FALUADE, GBOLAHAN The Art of Bruce Onobrakpeya (Unpublished Essay submitted to the Department of Fine Arts in partial fulfillment for the award of B.A. (Fine Art)
University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, June 1979) 59 pages.

FOSU, KOJO 20th Century Art of Africa, 1986 published by Gaskiya Corporation Ltd., Zaira, Nigeria.

JEGEDE, DELE Trends in Contemporary Nigerian Art, A Historical Analysis, unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University Press Bloomington and London 1973.

MOUNT, MARSHAL WARD African Art: The Year Since 1920, Indiana
University Press, Bloominghton and London, 1973.

ODUFEJO, C.M. SUNDAY The Art of Bruce Onobrakpeya as I See it in 1975,
(unpublished HND thesis, Yaba College of Technology), June, 1976 88 pages.

OKEKE EZE, EMMANUEL Bruce Onobrakpeya – A Research into the Print
Experiments of a Contemporary Nigerian Artist (unpublished Bachelor of Arts thesis, University of Nigeria, Nsukka), 1976, 92 pages.

OKEKE, UCHE Art in Development – A Nigerian Perspective
published by the Documentation Centre, Asele Institute Nimo, Nigeria and African American Cultural Centre, Minneapolis, U.S.A. 1982, 91 pages.

UDOMA EKPO UDO Non-Naturalistic Representation in Contemporary
Nigerian Paintings (A Study of Styles and Trends), an unpublished Master of Arts Dissertation, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 1989.

OLAOSEBIKAN W.A Cultural and Creative Arts: A Source Book for
Teachers, Evans Brothers (Nigeria Publishers) Ltd., Ibadan, page 38, 60, 112, 116.

OYELOLA, PAT Every man’s Guide to Nigerian Art, Nigeria. Magazine special publication, Lagos, 1976

Nigerian Artistry, with forward by Bruce Onobrakpeya Mosuro Publishers 2010

SPRING, CHRISTOPHER ANGANZA AFRIKA AFRICAN ART NOW Published by Lawrence King, 2008, pg 246-251

SIKPI, GREGORY KOFI History of Contemporary Nigerian Art (Unpublished Bachelor of Arts Degree thesis, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos, July 1988)

WAHLMAN, MAUDE Contemporary African Art, Chicago, 1974

ROLF BROCKMANN, GERD HOTTER Szene Lago, Reise in Eine Afrikanische,
Kultermetropole, Trickster Verlag 1994.

WALKER, JAMES The Black Experience in Canada, published by the
Ontario Education Communications Authority, 1979, page 80.

WILLET, FRANK African Art, Thames and Hudson London, 1971.

VERNICEM. KELLY, Nigerian Artist: A who’s who and Bibliography,
Published JANET L. STANLEY for the National Museum of African Art Branch Smithsonian Institution Libraries Washington, D.C. by Hans Zell London, 1993.

STANLEY, JANET L. Arts of Africa – An Annotated Bibliography
Volume I & II African Studies Association Press, Atlanta, 1992, 1993

KENNEDY, JEAN New Currents, Ancient Rivers: Contemporary
African Artists in a Generation of Change, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. U.S.A.1992.

HANS D’ ORVILLE Leadership for Africa, edited, 1995 (Editor)

DUNCAN,. CLARKE African Art, Random House, New York.

PICTON, JOHN Image and Form (prints drawings and Sculpture from Southern Africa and Nigeria) School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) University of London 1997.

REVUE, NOIRE Nigeria: African Contemporary Art, No. 30,1998.
(Jean Loup Pivin) Editorial

JAMES SHOAF TURNER The Dictionary of Art, MacMillian Publishers Limited, 1996. (Editor).

NZEGWU NKIRU Contemporary Textures, Multidimensionality in
Nigerian Art ISSA 1999.

CATHERINE KING Views of Difference: Different Views of Art Yale University Press, New Haven & London in association with The Open University 1999.

SIDNEY LITTLE FIELD KASFIR Contemporary African Art – Thames & Hudson
London & New York 1999.

ISHOLA-LEMOMU, KUNLE Bruce Onobrakpeya 1990-2000 Unpublished
Dissertation for the award of the Bachelor of Art Degree, Lagoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho 2001

PAMELA MC. CLUSKYAnd ROBERT FARIS THOMPSON Art from Africa-Long Steps Never Broke a Back Seattle Art Museum and Princeton University
Press 2002.

MARTHA G. ANDERSON And PHILIP M. PEEK Ways of the Rivers: Arts and Environment of the Niger Delta. UCLA Fowler Museum of Natural History, Los Angeles 2002.

Richard Singletary Bruce Onobrakpeya U.S.A. 2002

JEWELS OF NOMADIC IMAGES, with essays by Peju Laiwola, Ekpo Udo Udoma and Olu Amoda, published by Ovuomaroro 2009

Nigerian Artistry: Written by Pat Oyelola with foreward by Bruce Onobrakpeya, published by Mosuro Publishers 2010.

Forthcoming Publications

Sept 2010, MASKS OF FLAMING ARROWS, with essays by Dele Jegede, David Opkako and Gani Odutokun, Ovuomaroro publishers, Nigeria, 2010.

Films and Documentaries

FILM Kindreds Spirits: Contemporary Nigerian Artists, Smithsonian World Washington, D.C. U.S.A.

The Magic of Nigeria, Produced by Delka/Polystar directed by Ola Balogun.

Recalling the Future Art by Joanna Grabski, Produced and directed by Claudine Pommier Executive Producer Cheikh Tidiane N'diaye./Arts in Action Society(Vancouver, Canada)2002.

The Harmattan Workshop Experience: The Journey so far: film and documentary on 10 years the Agbarha- Otor Harmattan workshop Experience produced and directed by Bruce Onobrakpeya, 2009.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Nigerian Artistry

Nigerian Artistry
Patricia Oyelola
328 pages
Figures: 431
Binding: Hardback
Date Available: March 2010
Price N9,500

Copies available at the Harmattan Workshop Gallery
ISBN: 978 978 484 12 14

Nigerian artistry is a unique, thoroughly researched and richly illustrated guide on different art forms in Nigeria. Reading Nigerian Artistry is like travelling through Nigeria.

'... a narrative epic and a refeference work offering comprehensive information on aspects of Nigerian art. Rich in images, it is easy and interesting to read. Pat Oyelola takes us on a journey through time and the art of this geographical region called Nigeria. We can understand... how these art forms with their techniques and styles have been affected by the dynamics of change thus becoming poorer or richer'-Bruce Onobrakpeya

Author Biography

Pat Oyelola, an avid lover of arts, has a degree from London Unversity and holds Masters and Doctorate degrees with specialization in African art History from the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, where she was a senior fellow for many years. She is also the chairperson of the Editorial Board of the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation, which has many publications to it's credit, including the Harmattan Workshop Catalogues.

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