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Biography of Bruce ONOBRAKPEYA

Nigeria > Arts : Bruce ONOBRAKPEYA

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Biography :

Bruce Onobrakpeya (born in 1932) is a Nigerian artist. He's a book ilustrator and printmaker  who draws upon Nigerian mythology, Christianity, events in daily life, and the landscape for his imagery.

"Undoubtedly Nigeria's best documented artist, Bruce Onobrakpeya needs very little introduction in art circles both within and outside the country. A living legend, Bruce Onobrakpeya has devoted his life to his work and is today regarded as the main custodian of Urhobo folklore and culture.

"As a founding member of the Zaria rebels, he is responsible for the renaissance in contemporary art in Nigeria and extended his vision to St. Gregory's College [Lagos] where he taught for many years. Through his various workshops and  symposia, Bruce has influenced generations of young artists and is today respected as one of the  leading print makers in the world."

"Bruce Onobrakpeya, a Nigerian Urhobo printmaker, painter and sculptor, belongs to the first generation of contemporary artists graduating from the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology (NCAST, presently known as Ahmadu Bello University). Onobrakpeya's training was based on the Western illusionistic tradition of representational art. However, many of his artworks do not reflect his training in Western aesthetics. Instead, they portray stylistic elements and compositions that mirror traditional African figural sculpture and decorative arts."

"In 1998, 1999, and 2000 Bruce Onobrakpeya's Agbarha-Otor [artistic] outfit, with in-built chalets, successfully hosted artists to three annual communions, called the Harmattan Workshops. They drew artists from all parts of Nigeria. Plans are in high gear for the 2001 edition in which it is hoped artists from other parts of the world will participate. Bruce Onobrakpeya is involved with art works that show concern for the environment. The first of these, styled the Sahelian Masquerades, was seen in Europe, America and Southern Africa. Bruce Onobrakpeya has traveled and exhibited extensively in Nigeria and abroad."

On June 6, 2000, Bruce Onobrakpeya was honoured with the Fellowship of the Society of Nigerian Artists.  Previously, Bruce Onobrakpeya received Pope John Paul II award for painting the life of Saint Paul, the Fellowship of Asele Institute award, the Sadam Hussein award, the Solidra Circle award, and Fulbright Exchange Scholar award.  Bruce Onobrakpeya received an honourary D. Litt. from the University of Ibadan in 1989.

Last update : 11/08/2007

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