Odili Donald Odita is an abstract painter exploring color both in the figurative historical context and in the sociopolitical sense. Commissioned to paint several large-scale wall installations at The United States Mission to the United Nations in New York (2011), the Savannah College of Art and Design (2012), New Orleans Museum of Art (2011), Kiasma, Helsinki (2011) and the George C. Young Federal Building and Courthouse in Orlando, Florida (2013). Odita was born in 1966 in Enugu, Nigeria, lives and works in Philadelphia; and received a Penny McCall Foundation Grant in 1994, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant in 2001, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 2007.
15/60, with 6AP, 4 State Proof and PP.
Image rights: Courtesy of: Odili Donald Odita and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
He had solo exhibitions at Savannah College of Art and Design, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Studio Museum in Harlem; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita; and Princeton University.
Odita's work has been in Brooklyn Rail, CityLab, W Magazine, blouinartinfo, Hyperallegic, The Creators Project, ArtNews, Bloomberg and Artsy.
Odili Donald Odita
About Odili Donald Odita
Nigerian-born Odili Donald Odita grew up in the American Midwest, and his dual identity has influenced works that fuse elements of Western modernism with African culture. Odita’s abstract paintings combine hard-edged bands of color with an earthy African palette, in patterns that also suggest West African textiles. “In my paintings, I am dealing with memory, the presence and absence of experiences removed; nostalgia for a lost past, and the hope for something new and better,” he says. In installation works and digitally manipulated imagery from fashion advertisements, Odita critiques Western consumerism and the fashion industry’s reductive representations of racial identity. His work also comments on social and political realities in his native Nigeria. In Heaven Can Wait (2001), for example, he placed stacks of Nigerian currency in a wheelbarrow that stands in a puddle of thick black paint, reminiscent of an oil spill; Odita suggests Nigeria’s oil industry is both its greatest resource and the cause of the staggering inflation wrought on the country’s near-valueless currency.
Nigerian, b. 1966, Enugu, Nigeria, based in New York and Philadelphia