Tuesday, August 27, 2013

40 years of Bruce Onobrakpeya in Contemporary Visual Art

TITLE OF BOOK:                 Forty years of Bruce Onobrakpeya in Contemporary Visual Art.
PUBLISHER:                        Ovuomaroro Gallery and Studio Press

 ISBN: 978-2509-64-7

Most publications on contemporary Nigeria Visual artists are not sufficiently detailed. Usually what happens is for catalogues about these artists to have very little information about them, or their works, instead the emphasis seems to be to have a lot of pictures included without detailed artistic statements or information about the life and work of these artist.

The book consists of three interesting sections.  These are as follows:
i.                     Introduction
ii.                   Essays
iii.                  The artists resume and the Appendix.

In the introduction Mr. Ikpakronyi starts by discussing the retrospective exhibition which the catalogue is meant to accompany.  Simon is of the opinion that every artist should look forward to this kind of showing of their works in their life time.  Some of the Nigerian contemporary artists that have marked important anniversary celebration with exhibitions, include Ben Enwonwu, Irene Solomon Wangboje,  Uche Okeke, Jimoh Akolo, Yomi Adetoro, Demas Nwoko and Bruce Onobrakpeya.

According to Mr. lkpakronyi the marking of forty years of visual practice is a new development  which Bruce Onobrakpeya is one of the first to do such.
 Before discussing Bruce Onobrakpeya  Mr. Ikpakronyi  looks at a genesis of contemporary Nigerian
Visual  Art.  According to him, this will help the readers to understand how the contemporary Nigerian art started, the point where Bruce Onobrakpeya started and how he  has been building upon the structure he met on the ground to help him attain his present status.
He starts with the period (1900 -1950) which he put as one. The protagonist artist of this period he stated is Chief Aina Onabolu. Some of his contemporaries included Akinola Lasekan, J.A. Akeredolu .He traces how they were trained and the kind of Art they were producing.
The next period (1950-1960) include artists like Ben Enwonwu, Etso Ugbodaga Ngu, and Afi  Ekong. He also states how this group had received their training in art and the types of and the types of art they were producing. However Mr. Ikpakronyi   seems to lament over other artists of this period that  were not  given attention by art historians, writers and educationists.   These include Goffrey Okolo, Albert Odunse, Eyo-Ita, Nkure F estus Idowu, Holloway, Osula, Odunbanja, Solanke, Ajidasile and Orishadepe, others are C.C. lbeto,  D.L.K Nnachi, A.D. Umana, J.O. Ugoji and Uthman Ibrahim.  According to him these names started when Enwonwu started  and that it is unfair that most of these names are being forgotten in the Contemporary  Nigerian art scene.
 The artists of the third decade (l960 -1970) according to his grouping include Yusuf Grillo, late
Simon Okeke, Uche Okeke, BruceOnobrakpeya, Felix Ekeada, Oseloka Osadebe, Okechukwu
Gbonnaya, Nwagbara, late William Olaoshebikan and I.M. Omagie (woman). These he said
were members of the famous Zaria Art Society. Others who were not members of the Zaria Art society but were trained in Zaria include Jimoh Akolo , Irein S. Wangboje, T. A. Fasuyi, Isiaka Osunde etc. According to Mr. lkpakronyi, all the names mentioned above were the most popular among the contemporary Nigerian artists of the third decade.
He discussed their various activities in contemporary Nigerian art scene and said that Bruce Onobrakpeya stands unique among them, "This he said is due to the aspect of art (prints) which he chose ,developed and popularized. According to Mr. Ikpakronyi, the  idea of printmaking  has always been there but that Bruce Onobrakpeya has succeeded in adding new dimensions to it. New terminologies as Bronzed Lino Relief, Plastograph and Plastocast Relief are synonymous with him. Most of his works, he said have intricate designs with interesting textures that are aesthetically appealing. Printmaking and the use of traditional imageries and symbols through which he puts his stories/messages across to his audience, this, he further stated has made attain his present height and visibility in Nigerian art.
 Mr. Ikpakrony has said so much about this genius and concludes  thus: “Bruce Onobrakpeya is one of the most accomplished Nigerian artists, and has contributed immensely to the development of art and the image of artists  through defining a new role  for artists in Nigeria, Africa and the the world at large through his works. His creative power and sense of innovation especially in printmaking can hardly be attained by any artists in this millennium, thus he remains the most outstanding.”

The Essays
The essays are twenty four in number and written by a select group of practicing artists, art historians, educationist, administrators, writers and collectors among whom are Prof. Ola Oloidi of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Dr. P. C. Dike, Director of the National Gallery of Art, Lagos; Prof. Osa Egonwa of the Department of Fine and Applied Art, Delta State University, Abaraka, David Dale, International Artist, Lagos, Dr. Donatus  Akatakpo, lecturer Department of I Architecture, University of Lagos; Kolade Oshinowo, Artist and lecturer Department of Fine and Applied Art, Yaba College of Techno logy, Yaba, Lagos, Prof. Adepegba and Dr. Pat Oyelola of the University Ibadan, Engineer Yemisi |Shyllon of Nigerite Limited Lagos; Prof. Yomi  Adetoro of the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos; Prof. Uche Okeke, Dr. G.G. Darah and a host of others. This is an interesting part of the book as their various essays reveals certain aspects of Bruce Onobrakpeya's life that many people do not know about.

The Artist's Resume
This has comprehensive and a full resume of artistic activities on Bruce Onobrakpeya. All that he has been doing are neatly packaged in this section. The section include the contributors list, Appendix, notes and references.
The entire information about Bruce Onobrakpeya can be meaningful if the whole text is property read.
Therefore  this book is highly recommended to scholars, artist, art promoters, collectors, curators, libraries, institutions and researchers  who are encouraged to acquire to acquire copy/copies.
Dr. Paul Chike
Director/Chief Executive
National Gallery of Art Lagos.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Invitation to Artists

Talks by Invited Artists
A 2-Day International Conference in
Partnership with the Brunei Gallery to Compliment the Harmattan Workshop Exhibition April-June 2014

The Annual Harmattan Workshop which takes place at the The Niger Delta Arts and Cultural Centre  organized by the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation (BOF) in conjunction with (Engr.) Dr. Prince Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Professorial Chair for Visual Arts & Design, University of Port Harcourt and The Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London warmly invites scholars and students in the field of African and cultural studies to engage significantly in debates and discussions that would highlights the localities and contexts of popular development imperatives of Nigerian Arts. The conference which is part of the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of northern and southern Nigeria will find expression in such areas as in visual arts and its practices, the performing arts,  poetry and literatures as genres of collective endeavors as African peoples, and in global spaces. Perhaps, the outcome of the conference shall be to provide the narratives as answers to critical issues of development agenda for Nigeria and the Niger Delta peoples as focal point where the Niger Delta Cultural Centre is domiciled; as we are aware that the Niger Delta region of Nigeria is one of the richest wetlands of the world where human and material resources abound and socio-cultural activism have in the recent past been phenomenal. Thus, the conference seeks to promote the understanding that the Visual arts of Nigeria and in particular, the Niger Delta can be regenerated to provide the needed wealth and character for development realignments in the Nigerian space.
The organizing committee invites interested scholars as panelists to submit panel proposals for inclusion in the conference programme. Panelists are at liberty to establish one or more sessions. Each session should comprise of one or more presenters, with no more than three papers. There shall be a chair and a discussant.
Submissions should include:
·        Panel title
·       Names and affiliation(s) of possible panel proposer(s)
·       Names and affiliations of possible panel participants
·       A 250 word (maximum) outline describing the panel topic
Submissions should be made in PDF format to jagberia@yahoo.com or cj2@soas.ac.uk
The official language of the conference is English although translators shall be provided where necessary.
Deadline for panel proposals 1st March, 2014