Born 1934, Barber has become one of Nigeria’s most prominent artists. While known mainly for his surrealist landscapes,
Barber has also created an impressive oeuvre of sculptural pieces. His early influence included the ancient Ife figurines. Barber moved to the UK on a government scholarship to pursue art studies. His art studies however followed a non-traditional route involving seminars, regular museum visits and apprenticeships at sculpture studios. This eclectic mix probably enabled him evolve his own style heavily influenced by the surrealist movement.
In 1971 Barber returned to Nigeria to take up a teaching position at the University of Lagos. While there he helped set up the Centre for Creative studies and was a huge influence in the development of a crop of Nigerian artist who were taught and heavily influenced by his ideas. Barber resides in Ijoko and he still paints when he can. He is still intrigued by nature and the mystery of sight.
At 77, Abayomi Barber is one of the oldest artists in Nigeria, and one of the most influential. A painter, sculptor and
teacher, Barber has created some of the most fascinating landscapes in Nigerian art. His dual images serve both as mesmerizing sceneries and as stories of Nigeria’s past and present. His sculptures grace diverse places – the House of Commons and the National theatre. As an art teacher in the university of Lagos , Barber has groomed some of Nigeria’s most interesting new artists.
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