Saturday, October 06, 2012

The 320th good thing about Lagos: visiting a master's studio

Bruce Onobrakpeya is probably the most celebrated living Nigerian artist, and likely one of the best known and respected in all of West Africa.  So I jumped at the chance to visit his studio when the outing was organized by the Nigerian Field Society last spring.   Meeting Bruce and hearing him speak of his life and his artistic philosophy was a wonderful opportunity.  He was very generous with his time and the access he gave us to his studio.

 Bruce's son Mudi welcomed us as well.  They were getting ready to ship many artworks to Dakar, Senegal for an international exhibition.

Bruce just turned 80 years old, but he seems much younger, mentally and physically.

 Above is one of his prints that he was going to bring to Senegal.  Many of his very famous works are sculptural relief works similar to the one below.

The bottom floor of his house was chock full of works by Bruce, as well as cultural objects that possibly he uses as inspiration in his artwork.

 We would have loved to buy one of his works out of his home, but they're pretty pricey, and this visit wasn't really intended for shopping.

 Quite a variety of objects in every corner.
Bruce gave us a catalog from one of his previous Harmattan workshops.  His foundation runs a workshop in Delta State where each summer artists come to study and work together, learning from formal presentations as well as from creative collaborations.  Onobrakpeye is an artist who gives back to others -- he has contributed much to the development of art and artists in Nigeria.
Lots of art on the stairs up to his workplace on the top floor.


The studio area upstairs is a jumble of art tools and materials, old works, works in progress, pieces from old prints, drawings, casts from relief works.  He uses many varied techniques in creating his art, and the studio reflects the array of different materials.
 a printing press

 lots of  areas just looked like an artist's still life....

 Onobrakpeye actually developed many innovative printmaking and sculptural relief techniques, requiring a variety of tools, chemicals and materials.

Group picture at the end of the visit.  Thank you Bruce and Mudi!  It was great to see where the master does his work!

1 comment:

Victoria Bassey said...

Just revisited your blog. Welcome back. I and my friends/co-workers thought you had stopped posting. Please, please, and pleeeeeeaaaase don't stop;

Ever since a friend of ours referred your blog to us, you've really been an inspiration, you have the kind of wonderful family life that we all pray to have, once our Mr. Rights pop the question (though some of us are yet to stumble across our better halves, myself included).

Thanks for looking for good in our country even though to be honest there really isn't a lot of good in it, though I guess there's a silver lining in every cloud, you just need to look for it. Once again, thanks for giving hope where little of it exists.