A printmaker, painter and sculptor, Bruce is one of Africa’s best known and most highly respected artists. He has been described as a ‘living legend’ who was ‘responsible for the renaissance in contemporary art in Nigeria’. With a career spanning several decades and many notable exhibitions at the Tate Modern Gallery, London, National Museum of African Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and Malmö Konsthall, Sweden to name a few. Bruce is a well renowned and established name in art circles around the world.
Bruce Onobrakpeya was born in Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, Nigeria in 1932. In the early 1960s, during his studies at the Nigerian College of Science, Art & Technology, Zaria, he became a leading member of the ‘Zaria Rebels’ who changed the course of art in Nigeria towards a distinctly African aesthetic.Bruce Onobrakpeya has successfully synthesised the vitality of Africa’s great tradition with the convention and styles of modernity. He has fused his training in western techniques and materials with his own heritage, cultural experience and an inventiveness that is undeniably African. His colourful, stylized and heavily textured images borrow freely from tribal folklore, Christian iconography and ancestral rites – inviting comparisons with the writer Ben Okri, a magic realist who shares Onobrakpeya’s feel for the supernatural.
Onobrakpeya is not only known for provocative imagery but for innovative technique as well. He uses a wide range of printmaking techniques including those he has pioneered himself. He is greatly documented and needs no introductions in art circles around the world. Bruce Onobrakpeya has dedicated his life to his oeuvre and is today regarded as one of the greatest in his field. Onobrakpeya is listed in International Who’s Who in Art and Antiques and is one of the foremost master printers of our time. His international status is the result of 40 years of creative activity, experimentation, scholarly exchanges and sheer passion for what he loves. Onobrakpeya grew up in the verdant southern Delta, studied fine arts in the northern city of Zaria and raised a family in cosmopolitan Lagos, where he still lives and works.
- Pope Paul VI Gold Medal for painting on the Life of Saint Paul
- Major prestigious exhibitions around the world including UK, Canada, USA, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden (Malmö Konsthall 1979 & 1996)
- Works in public collections include Vatican Museum, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, USA and Skissernas Museum, Lund, Sweden
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