Bruce Onobrakpeya Nigeria, b. 1932

Overview

Throughout his distinguished career spanning over fifty years, Bruce Onobrakpeya has cemented himself as one of Nigeria's most celebrated contemporary artists.

Experimenting with diverse mediums including printmaking, serigraphy, painting, sculpture, and installation, Onobrakpeya's artistic practice has been integral in developing the modern tradition of Nigerian art through a re-invigoration of indigenous cultural iconographies. His unconventional processes sparked new art techniques in printmaking and relief sculpture, notably in his work with additive plastography. His themes often focus on Nigerian histories, narratives and symbols.

 

Born in Agbarha-Otor in Delta State, Nigeria in 1932, Bruce Onobrakpeya’s career took a decisive turn during his university studies at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology in Zaria in the 1960s. As a member of the Zaria Arts Society, popularly known as the "Zaria Rebels", Onobrakpeya combined his training in the Western-representational style with a focus on Nigeria’s artistic traditions.

Biography

Bruce Onobrakpeya has participated in artist residencies and professorships both in Nigeria and abroad and has exhibited in major international arts institutions, including the Tate Modern (UK), the National Museum of African Art of the Smithsonian Institution (USA), and the Malmö Konsthall in Malmö (Sweden).

Apart from his passion for visual and intellectual output, Bruce Onobrakpeya is involved in art education at both the formal and informal levels. After teaching for many years in both the secondary and tertiary level, he instituted the Harmattan Workshop Series at Agbarha-otor in Delta State where artists meet to share ideas and learn skills for growth,

 

Onobrakpeya is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently as the honoree at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art's fiftieth anniversary in Washington, DC. He has also received the UNESCO Living Human Treasure Award as well as the prestigious Nigerian Creativity Award by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Works