Art is an amazing way to get to know a previously unknown culture. It often reflects cultural diversity as well as religious and ethnic origin. There are many unique societies throughout the globe and art is a way to bring them all a little closer to home. Nigerian art is certainly an excellent method to learn more about that ancient and fascinating region. Like many forms of traditional African art, Nigerian art reflects that society’s need for beautiful as well functional pieces. Many of the art forms created today in Nigeria have their roots firmly planted in the traditions and methods of their forbearers. The Nigerian people are proud of their art and artists and it shows in their dedication to the visual, audio, and performed art forms.
Traditional Nigerian art has been dated as far back as 2000 years. There are examples of this work in sculpture, paintings, and the most well known masks. Some classic examples of materials used in these ancient artifacts are wood, bronze, and coppers. Fortunately for the modern world pieces can be seen in countless museums around the world. Traditional music and dance can be heard and seen in religious and cultural events throughout the year.
As previously noted, African art is often functional as well as beautiful. The Kano dye pits are an example of the ancient world meeting the modern one. The same techniques that have been used for thousands of years are still used to create these fabric works of art. Indigo and vegetable dyes are used to make intricate patterns on the cloth. When the material is beaten for a shiny appearance, the artists are implementing the same methods their ancestors did. This fabric is still very much in demand by locals and foreigners alike. The Kano style of textile is one of the most popular form of modern Nigerian art.
Much of contemporary Nigerian art could be described as some of the finest craftsmanship in the world. For generations artisans have created majestic pieces that reflect the African heritage and are a direct link of the many natural resources found in the region. Some of these sculptures and other forms of art have been made for use in ceremonial rituals and celebrations. It seems that everything that comes from this region is art in one form or another. The elaborate costumes and stunning jewelry are all crafted with excellent workmanship, talent, and patience. Nigerian artists were some of the first in the world to perfect the craft of metal casting. Other forms of Nigerian art are leatherwork and intricate wood carvings.
Like most of the other regions in Africa, Nigeria has made its mark and created a name for itself in the art world with its rich tradition of finely made art. The usefulness and beauty of this region’s offerings is awe inspiring. Nigerian art is a wonderful blend of tradition and modern elements that result in a stunning visual display in so many different mediums. The beautiful culture shines through in each and every piece.
Mr. Moyo Ogundipe has a Bachelors of Arts degree in Fine Art from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and a Master of Fine Art degree in Painting from The Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, USA.
One of Africa’s most celebrated and renowned Nigerian artists, Mr. Ogundipe has exhibited extensively in Africa, Europe and the USA. His paintings have been described as hypnotic, colorful and densely patterned.
In 1996, Mr. Ogundipe was awarded the Pollock-Krasner Fellowship. And in 2005 he was invited to become a member of Africobra, an organization founded in the 1960s and whose membership comprises of distinguished African-American artists.