Aside books written on him by Nigerian and international scholars, Dr Bruce Onobrakpeya has also done a lot to document his work and career trajectory. Below are some of the statements he has made at different forums and in publications as compiled by TAJUDEEN SOWOLE.
There are those who believe that the west is trying to sell the idea of installation, which in any case was adapted Africans’ shrine compositions... I personally find installations beautiful, exciting and intellectually interesting.
I had done two installation: Portraits of Two Icons, dedicated to Profs Wole Soyinka and Yusuf Grillo for their 70th birthdays in 2004.
A theme helps the participants look deep at an aspect of the arts with the hope of drawing out ideas which will stimulate creativity.
— Harmattan Workshop, Agbarha-Otor, 2005
The role played by various people in helping the artist bring to life the idea he has in mind is often underestimated. Any masterpiece is the product of not just the artist who created it, but the result of team efforts by his associates who laboured assiduously behind the scenes.
— from Jewels of Nomadic Images, 2009.
The informal sector should be made to complement the academic, I think that’s the German philosophy then. I wish he (Uli Beier) had died in Nigeria, he would have been buried like a king.
— On the input of Uli Beier to the growth of Nigerian art through workshops.
It shouldn’t take ages. In every five to ten years, there should be new masters. But these days, they are emerging faster than one can ever imagine.
— Shortly after the opening of a group exhibition An Evening With the Masters at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Oct 2010.
I know that whoever has a collection of Nigerian works now is sitting on gold. What counts now is the passion for collection, which is growing.
— Shortly after his work, a foil panel, Greater Nigeria was sold at record price at auction in Lagos, April 2008.
It’s so sad; this is destroying the creative history of the Nigeria.
— On the defacement and possible destruction of artworks by Nigerian masters at the newly renovated Muritala Muhammed Int’l Airport, July, Lagos, 2012.
Ten years after Ken Saro Wiwa was put to death by hanging, his name still inspires hope and a spasm of vigour not only in Nigerian youths but, a teeming number of people around the world who clearly identify with his stance on indigence of an area controlling mineral resources produced in these areas.
— Excepts of his speech delivered to the Rotary Club, Nigeria in 2006
Some generations had certain advantages, which others didn’t have. Every generation tackles issues of their time. Some may be more favoured than others. For example, at the time we were emerging, we had people like Azikiwe, Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Jomo Keyatta and others. We were breathing the same air without our knowing it.
— Few weeks before his 80th birthday, Lagos, August, 2012.
|Bruce Onobrakpeya (right) with the owners of Nike Art Gallery, Mr and Mrs Okundaye, during the opening of the Ore Idjubili (Jubilee Festival), an exhibition marking the master printmaker's 80th birthday on Saturday.|
The Visual Art Perspective: The Way Forward
Being statement he made at the Artists’ Meeting With President Jonathan in March 2011 at Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos.
Mr. President, we thank you for taking time off the busy Presidential campaign train to listen to us on the way forward in the Visual Arts which has unlimited potentials for the development of our country. Rather unfortunately, some of our prayers in the past have remained unanswered till date.
• The need for the Cultural Policy to be ratified so that the Endowment Fund for artists can take effect is of paramount importance.
• Artists are looking up to you to use their art to embellish government offices and our foreign mission offices; to display art during important international programmes involving sports and world and regional bodies meetings in Nigeria. Art and the practitioner will develop faster and contribute more to the economy by so doing.
• Partnering with established and recognised NGOs in funding the informal educational sector. Such Workshops like the Harmattan workshops and the Aftershave help develop the arts and open up communities.
• Visual Artists who teach in universities do not need a doctoral degree to become professors as is presently a National Universities Commission requirement.
• That the African Regional Summit and Exhibition on Visual Arts (ARESUVA) be made a biennale like the Dakar or India Biennale.
• Appointing artists as heads of art relevant parastatals
• In concluding, Mr. President, we plead for the speedy development of the National Gallery structures to international standard where artists can have the best exposure.