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5 Most Influential Nigerian Artists

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The development of fine arts in Nigeria is defined by richest in West Africa tradition of fine art (Nok, Ife, Benin) that directly influence on contemporary creativity, and existence of extreme forms of modernist art. Most clearly this duality manifests itself in painting.

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In this post we will talk about the most outstanding Nigerian artists. Their art is truly unique and is of a great value in the world of art.

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Take a look at spectacular works of arts on JiJi!

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Yusuf Grillo

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Yusuf Grillo (1934) is one of the greatest figures in Nigerian art. He is actually considered to be the father of modern Visual Art in his native country. Yusuf isn`t very productive artist, but he is definitely a true perfectionist. He can work on one painting for month and even years before he is ready to show it to public.

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Having become famous in 60-70, now in his 80 he continues to work. His art is extremely valued among modern art lovers. His works are being sold on auctions. And the prices for them usually exceed £ 50 000.

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And most importantly, Yusuf Grillo art is an inspiration for many generations of artist. He is not only a remarkable artist, but also a renowned tutor. Therefore nowadays everyone in art sphere consider him a master.

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Aina Onobulu

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Aina Onolubu (1882-1963) is a legend in Nigerian art. Nigerians owe to him for establishment of art studying in the beginning of 20 century. Aina got education in France and other European countries and then brought his knowledge to Nigeria, because he felt that he wasn`t the only one who had such passion to art, and realized importance of having opportunity to study.

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Aina Onolubu is most famous for his portraits. “Mrs Spencer Savage” (1906) is one of the greatest examples of spectacular combination of different styles that had an influence on Aina`s art.

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Aina Onolubu often met racist opinions about African artists during his studying abroad. It was very important to him to show with his perfect and unique style that color of the skin doesn`t define the artist.

Aina`s “Adam and Eve” (1954) was sold for £21600 in 2011.

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Ada Udechukwu

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Ada Udechukwu is primarily a poet. She has a bachelor degree in English and literature, her poems and short stories are well-received by critics. Yet, her desire to express herself using art has made her a wonderful painter as well. She first started to paint on fabric, on different type of clothing. Then she tried herself in drawing on paper, using watercolor and ink. Her design on cloth is optimistic and joyful, but her other works reflect different conflicts, issues that bother her, from her social roles to national identities.

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Ada Udechukwu is very important figure in modern Nigerian art. She boldly expresses herself in different types of art, continuing to examine different social and intercultural issues.

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Bruce Onobrakpeya

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Bruce Onobrakpeya (1932) is a painter, sculptor, printmaker and tutor. Some critics consider him a very influential figure in contemporary Nigerian arts and crafts, others think of him as of living legend. He is very plentiful artist; his paintings and prints are very popular nowadays and are being sold for up to £ 9000.

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Bruce Onobrakpeya (Urhobo, 1932-), "Station 1: Pilate condemns Christ to death," 1969. Linocut. Collection of the SMA African Art Museum, Tenafly, New Jersey. Photo: Eric James Jones. The figures are portrayed in contemporary Nigerian dress--Pilate as an oba, Christ in Christian clerical habit, and the soldier in colonial police-style uniform. Tags: Africa, Nigeria

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Even though Bruce Onobrakpeya has great knowledge of Western art tradition, he maintain truly unique sense of African tradition, his works have magnificent and very distinctive style.

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Bruce Onobrakpeya is known for his love to experiments. He is innovator of several interesting techniques. The number of techniques he works in is just huge: bronzed lino relief, plastocast relief, plastograph, additive plastograph, metal foil deep etching, metal foil relief print, ivorex, ibiebe. He also draws illustrations to the books. And, of course, his work as a tutor is of great importance as well.
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Jimoh Buraimoh

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Jimoh Buraimoh (1943) is Nigerian painter famous for his innovations in contemporary Nigerian art, inspired by Yoruba traditions. His works are widely exhibited throughout the world. Jimoh`s art is very popular among art lovers both in Africa and worldwide. His paintings are nowadays valued for up to £ 8000.

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Jimoh Buraimoh is also famous as a tutor. Recently, he wrote a book “The heritage”, which is autobiographical. It was published in 2000, and covers all his life – from childhood to nowadays. It is full of beautiful reproductions and is quite interesting to read.

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