Spotlight Wednesday | Bruce Onobrakpeya
Bruce Obomeyoma Onobrakpeya is a printmaker, painter and sculptor, who is born to an Urhobo carver. He was taught art by Edward Ivehivboje at Western boys High School in Benin city. He also attended drawing classes at the British Council Art Club in Benin City.
He is responsible for the renaissance in contemporary art in Nigeria and extended his vision to St. Gregory’s College [Lagos] where he taught for many years and he also belongs to the first generation of contemporary artists graduating from the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology (NCAST, presently known as Ahmadu Bello University).
Bruce was inspired by Emmanuel Erabor’s watercolour paintings. He uses a wide range of printmaking techniques in his work including those he has pioneered himself. Much of his work uses stylistic elements and compositions derived from traditional African sculpture and decorative arts.
Date of Birth: 30 August 1932
Place of Birth: Agbarha-Otor, Delta State Nigeria.
He created the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation, which organizes the annual Harmattan workshop in his home town of Agbara Otor, Delta State. The aim of the foundation is to encourage the growth of art and culture by giving artists opportunities to gain skills, while increasing public awareness of African art and its benefits to society. In year 2000, the foundation organized the Amos Tutuola Show in Lagos.
Amongst his many accomplishments, exhibitions and awards, here are a few notable ones:
- 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