Born on August 26, 1931 into the tradition of carving, Osawe took to the instruction from his father – who at that time was a craftsman under Oba Eweka II of Benin – before going to London for 10 years, to study art. He started at the School of Graphic Art for a year program before proceeding for a five-year study at the Camberwell School of Art at, all in the UK.
Osawe started making impact outside the shores of his motherland when he represented Nigeria as one of the five Commonwealth artists selected for the 1965 Commonwealth Exhibition in Glasgow, U.K.
He had major exhibitions at the Mbari Centre in Ibadan and Mainland Hotel Lagos, between 1967 and 1969 and later moved base from Lagos to Benin City in 1979.
Osawe, before his death, once said of his movement to Benin: “In 1976, I decided to leave Lagos, where I lived and maintained a studio for about 10 years, to settle down permanently in
Benin City. This decision was brought about by my increasing inability to concentrate properly on my creative activity which was not unconnected to the hustle and bustle of Lagos.”
“I must say that I am still experimenting with
the results of my research,” he was quoted as saying. And he never stopped researching until he released his last breath.
As one of the nation’s foremost sculptors, he would be remembered for his various researches, which resulted in the production of bronze/brass figures.
He died on Wednesday, June 24, 2007 at the age of 76 in his Benin home residence.
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