Ola-Dele Kuku Nigeria, 1963-2021
Ola Dele-Kuku is a Nigerian born architect and artist based in Brussels, Belgium. Kuku uses his architectural training to develop conceptual art projects that critique contemporary global issues in the social and cultural sphere.
Ola-Dele Kuku’s practice focuses primarily on conceptual interventions in architecture with a special interest in the philosophy, theory, and composition. He has developed several award winning projects which include drawings, objects and installations.
In his long term series Agenda Setting, Kuku critiques the hidden agendas and baises of the mass media, which are illustrated by selected interest in particularities, focus and oversight. The project has taken multiple formats, creating site-specific installations using found books in addition to a series of neon signs, which highlight underrepresented narratives. In his project Opera Domestica, Kuku produces furniture wooden sculptures that condense the structures and functions of domestic objects in architectural space.
In 2016, Ola-Dele Kuku's work was presented in the first Nigerian Pavillon at the Venice Architectural Biennale.
"With reference to wars, displacements and natural disasters, boundaries are constantly shifting and new territories are being created. These new territories have become the fundamental platforms for innovative solutions and interventions that require a continuous systematic approach."
- Ola-Dele Kuku
Ola-Dele Kuku studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC) in Los Angeles, California, USA and in Vico Morcote, Ticino, Switzerland. He initiated his practice in Milan, Italy in 1990.
His works have been presented in numerous international exhibitions, at museums, galleries and fairs such as the Politecnico di Milano, Italy ; Nagoya Center, Nagoya, Japan; Lineart, Ghent, Belgium; World Craft Council, Artistry in Wood – Hannover, Germany; Design Museum Gent, Belgium; Centre d’Art Contemporain Brussels, Belgium; Nagoya Centre, Nagoya, Japan; Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France; Biennale pour l’Art Contemporain Africain Dak’ART Dakar, Senegal; International Biennial Design Festival, Sainte-Etienne, France; Narodni Techniké Museum, Czech Republic; Teatro dal Verme Milano, Italy; Middelheim Museum Antwerp, Belgium; Porsche Haus Milan, Italy ; Torino Art Fair, Torino, Italy; Musée d’Ixelles Brussels, Belgium; Design Museum Gent, Belgium; and the 7th Flanders Design Triennial, Genk Belgium.
He has been awarded numerous prizes including ‘Grand Prize – Prime Minister’s Prize’ Award – IFI Nagoya International Design Competition, Nagoya, Japan; ‘License of Honour’ Tech-Art Prize Award – Vlaamse Ingenieurs kamer, Antwerp, Belgium; ‘Henry Van De Velde Prize’ – Prize of the Public Award – VIZO at the Design Museum, Ghent, Belgium; ‘Honourable Mention’ Award – Nagoya Do International Design Competition, Nagoya Japan; and ‘Mention Special pour la Créativité’ – Biennale pour l’Art Contemporain Africain Dak’ART; SPES Belgian Foundation Scholarship Award (for artistic creation) Lauréat, Brussels Belgium.
Various works from his projects have been published extensively, and are in prominent private collections, public institutions and foundations. Ola-Dele Kuku has also lectured and coordinated post-graduate thesis studios in several architecture academies, international conferences and workshops. The architect-artist is presently working on the establishment of ‘Post-Conflict Rehabilitation’ Programme as an academic course of study in architecture, design, and art academies.
Agenda Setting (neon series), Africa is not a country!, 2016
Agenda Setting II (The Running Mean), 2013
Noah's Grief (Relapse series I/III), 2013
Noah's Grief (Relapse series II/III), 2013
Noah's Grief (Relapse series III/III), 2013
The Boundary Condition (1/4), 2004
The Boundary Condition (2/4), 2004
Opera Domestica I, 1996