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Pompidou Paris acquires Osadebes Iba

Published by The Nation on Sun, 13 Sep 2020


THE Centre Pompidou Paris has acquired Iba, made in 1967 by Nigerian artist Oseloka Osadebe.With this acquisition the museum welcomes into the collection a work by a pioneer but lesser known member of the Society of Art in Zaria. Osadebe has played an important role in the growth of contemporary art in Nigeria.The Zaria School and its more popular rebels, Uche Okeke, Yusuff Grillo, Bruce Onobrakpeya and Demas Nwoko, sustain a spotlight in the contemporary Nigerian art world. With finding his entrance into the collection of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Osadebe receives now an international seat of honour amongst his renowned contemporaries.In 2018 SMO Contemporary Art curated a retrospective and exclusive exhibition of rare works that Osadebe created from 1960 to 2014 at the National Museum in Onikan. The exhibition highlighted the importance and impact of the artist for the first time locally with an international outreach. SMO Contemporary Art is proud to have shed light on this extraordinary artist and his rich legacy, and that will now be included in one of the worlds most prestigious museum collections.Already during his studies Osabebe started to develop a deep interest in the interpretation of religious motifs in traditional architecture. After graduating with a Master of Fine Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1967, Osadebe made a design that he called Iba, originating from the traditional ancestral house.The artist has been especially drawn to the design of this very particular religious enclave where only the man went for ceremonies and fasting. The design was so good. Its rectangular and there are vents that protect it. The concept was beautiful. (Osadebe) Oseloka Osadebe, born in 1924 in Onitsha, was trained at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology in Zaria where he became a member of the Zaria Art Society. After his graduation in 1962 in painting and sculpture he worked as a lecturer at the University of Nigeria in Nsukkabefore he left the the country in 1965 on an Aggrey Fellowship to pursue graduate studies at the Art Institute of Chicago in the United States.After a Masters degree in 1973 from the Goodman School of Drama, Chicago, specializing in scene design, lighting, and directing, Osadebe focused his doctoral work on Western and African theatre at the Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. During his career he was teaching theatre and set design at numerous universities in the United States and started to reactivate his practice as an artist in 2007. Osadebe lives and works in the United States.Osadebe was a member of the Zarian rebels, those artists who stuck to African mode of fine art while they were in school. Other members include Bruce Onobrakpeya, Yusuf Grillo, Demas Nwoko and others.
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