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Good night patriarch, pioneer of art criticism Ola Oloidi


The Director General of National Gallery of Art, Ebeten Ivara, has described as shocking, the news of Emeritus Professor of Art History and Criticism, Ola Oloidi, passing on Monday, November 2, 2020.

In a statement titled, Prof. Ola Oloidi: Good Night Patriach, Pioneer, Ivara said, “it was with overarching sadness that we at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) received the news.”


Oloidi was a patriarch and pioneer of art history and art criticism in Nigeria, pushing it from the sideline to the mainline in visual art.

Ivara said, “it was no surprise, therefore, that he became a leading authority in the field both nationally and internationally during his lifetime.”

Oloidi is also credited as the first to research into the history of modern Nigerian art; the first to write the history of art criticism in Nigeria and the first to write the history of art education in Nigeria.”

For 44 years at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, this erudite scholar, extraordinary researcher, and prodigious writer with over 100 publications to his credit, contributed glowingly to the advancement of scholarship and administration in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, the Faculty of Arts and the university in general.


“He did not confine himself to the serene university environment but chose to be part and parcel of those dispersing the knowledge of visual art at different levels through lectures, seminars, workshops, masterclasses among others.

“He was a mentor, friend, and confidant of the National Gallery of Art. He never hesitated anytime he was called upon to serve in any capacity whenever he was called upon. Early this year, he was Chairman at NGA’s 12th Annual Distinguished Lecture Series in Abuja which he executed with ease and panache to the admiration of all present.

“In December 2019, he was a guest of the Ogun State Chapter of the Society of Nigerian Artists in Abeokuta during its summit on Aina Onabolu titled, Phase and Faces.”

“To Oloidi, who also founded Art Historical Association of Nigeria (AHAN), visual art was the be-all and end-all. He lived for visual art and died for it… His passing has certainly left a vacuum too large to fill. Indeed, Nigeria and the entire world have lost a genius.”


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