Bruce Onobrakpeya (Nigerian, born 1932)
Ekugbe (Unity) from Ebony Series ll, 2013
Signed ‘BRUCE ONOBRAKPEYA 2013’ (lower right)
4/100 Edition, plastocast
41 x 29 cm
Provenance: on loan from the artist to Alan Donovan (founder of African Heritage)
An innovative printmaker, painter and sculptor, Bruce Onobrakpeya was among the original eight members of the Zaria Art Society, formed in 1958 while Onobrakpeya was a student at the Nigeria College of Arts, Science and Technology. The Society’s artistic and critical output, and the members ensuing careers, have had an immense impact on Nigerian art since.
Over the course of his career Onobrakpeya has been included in an unmentionable number of major international exhibitions including Contemporary African Art, the Museum of African Art, Washington D.C., 1974; Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1995; Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis, Tate Modern, London, 2001. Onobrakpeya’s work is represented in numerous public collections worldwide including the Vatican Museum in Rome, the National Museum of African Arts, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. and the British Museum, London.
In 1972 Onobrakpeya came to Nairobi and exhibited in the first Nigeria Festival organised by Alan Donovan through the African Heritage. He returned the following year with his opening exhibition for the Pan African Gallery. Onobrakpeya’s relationship with Donovan, and Nairobi, has continued over the years, and his work was exhibited in last year’s commemorative Nigeria Festival.
Onobrakpeya has been recognised with a number of prestigious awards including the Living Human Treasure Award given by UNESCO in 2006, the Nigerian Creativity Award by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2010, and an Honourary Degree of Doctor of Arts from the Delta State University in 2017.
Lampert C, Havell J (eds). Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa. London: Whitechapel Gallery, 1995.
Kasfir S.L. Contemporary Africa Art. London: Thames and Hudson, 2000.