Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rarely Seen Masterpieces of African Art: Installation and Mixed Media by Bruce Onobrakpeya

According to Onobrakpeya “Africa is a dumping ground for many Euro-American and Asian goods. How does one therefore, salvage Africa of these unwanted wastes and make the best of an ugly situation?”

Bruce Onobrakpeya embarked on installations as an art form during the Period (1995 - 2005). Installations and Mixed Media done by the artist, are works done which are characterized by the arrangement of different discarded materials to create works of art. The list of materials used is inexhaustible; jute bag, animal bones, hide and skin, discarded metals, foil paper, plastics, beads of all colours, used engine spark plugs, discarded computer mother board, PVC pipes, bottle corks, CDs, chains, twines, cowries etc. The unconventional materials that has been sourced by him and used in art making, exemplifies the height of material appropriation, born out of the need to solve societal and personal artistic problems.

These installations were essentially to draw attention to importance of protecting our environment. This is perhaps what motivated him to join forces to realize the overall philosophy of waste to wealth which Nigeria is preaching in all aspects of her socio-economic life.

According to Prof Egonwa in his essay the Rewards of Creativity. “The term assemblage often used to describe his installations does not carry the fullness of what the spirit of artistic assemblage in pictorial elements (items which are assembled in one composition) offer, as the French rendition of the same technique in music or theatre, ensemble presents. This is because aesthetic individuality of disparate elements given, denied, and integrated in the unity of composition evokes a higher affective presence in his works. Here the various elements manifest the beauty of simultaneity as in a musical ensemble. Here one encounters the tacto-visual equivalent of the musical kine-aesthetic ensemble. ”

Works in this category include Cathedral, Voices of silenced Voices. Standing Nomadic Forms, Divination Bowl and Environmental Regeneration.

Enjoy these breath taking and rarely seen Masterpieces of contemporary and modern  African art. 
Eghwgre (Hunting) Installation
 *Photographic Credit Prof. Dele Jegede

Wall Hanging
Standing Forms
Scavaging In a Lost Paradise
Twin Nomadic Forms
Divination Bowl

Environmental Regeneration 

*all other pictures courtesy of Mr. Bode Olaniran

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Commentry On Christian Art in Nigeria

The Last Supper Lino Engraving 1969

The very idea of FESTAC in the mid 70′s, was widely condemned by many churches all through out Nigeria, as a return to fetish images, connected to curses and ancestral covenant symbols and paganism by Nigeria. In 30 years since this celebration, the mindset of many about our arts, has not altered drastically. This clearly has put a clog to the widespread appeal and appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of our art, especially the contemporary. The government has therefore approached cultural celebrations using art, as an explosive area, which has to be approached with caution, due to it’s potential for undermining political influence and support. 
Bruce Onobrakpeya a modern Nigerian artist, whose artistic pieces have been widely collected in Christiandom, including by the Vatican Museum, has suffered a high casualty of having a lot of his works burnt, destroyed or at least stiffly resisted, perhaps more than any other Nigerian artist, because of cultural intolerance for new and radical African imagery, connected to the interpretation and worship of God Almighty. This has placed his works directly on the firing line of the brunt of the intolerance of our people, who are often guided by their “inspired” pastors or pious family members. The best of our art, including the modern, will continue to be seen for some time outside Nigerian shores, where they find a safe haven, devoid of any hate, and stand protected for the generality of Nigerians to enjoy their aesthetic merits.