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Bruce Onobrakpeya in Beauty and The Machine


An exhibition of new installation works by Bruce Onobrakpeya titled, Beauty and The Machine, will hold from April 20 to May 10, 2019 at the Freedom Park, Lagos. It is the first of a series of shows to commemorate 60 years of the artist’s public presentation of his art through exhibitions.

According to Kennii Ekundayo, curator of the show, “‘Beauty And The Machine’ will feature — never been exhibited — line of works that make a bold statement on the value still present in materials that have been discarded, and deemed unusable. It is a presentation of artworks achieved from abandoned items, all of which have now been recycled and assembled to become components of artistic productions.”

She added, “this installation art style is no stranger to the several techniques innovated and improvised upon in the age long practice of Onobrakpeya. It is a style borne out of his childhood fascination of the workings of machines, which outcome-wise, he has successfully made a part of his artistic expressions. The exhibits are made up of car parts, fabric materials, metals, beads, wood, computer parts, iron rods, steel, aluminum, and plastic parts, with interesting designs and spaces that have been realisable for the artist to reshape to create captivating art forms.”

She said, “through its exhibits,the show aims to lend voice to the clamour on the importance of recycling as a means of environmental sanitation as the incorporation of these erstwhile worthless materials into embodying art, not only improves upon the aesthetics of our environment but is beneficial to the revenue growth of our economy and most importantly, a propagation of the art.”

Born August 30, 1932 in Agbarha-Otor, Delta State to Urhobo parents, Onobrakpeya spent his formative years in Edo State, and went on to become an arts teacher in Western Boys High School and Ondo Boys High School.

He continued his tertiary education in the Nigerian College of Arts, Sciences and Technology, now the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he studied Fine Arts. As an undergraduate, he was one of the key members of the Zaria Art Society, a group of student-artists who came together to jointly repeal the ‘colonisation’ of their artistic identities.

He is an artist, art educator and culture advocate renowned for the versatility of his artistic practice that has birthed several techniques and styles including bronze lino relief, plastograph – an epoxy-base etching technique, and creating a set of ideograms, Ibiebe, that are symbolical to his artistic productions.

His works stand out as the most researched, reviewed, critiqued and documented in Nigeria and arguably, the African continent. This is credited to his penchant for steadily archiving his works, and practice that has spanned over six decades.

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