Opens exhibition of modern minimalist sculptures that contrast art and design

Contemporary artist, Billy Omabegho has opened his exhibition, ‘Billy Omabegho Recent Sculptures’, at The Wheatbaker, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The recent minimalist sculptures portray a startling visual impact and unusual power, influenced by the first known depiction of what may be sunrise and sunset in graphic form.

Omabegho said that his influence comes from the traditional symbols of natural phenomena skillfully carved into the wooden stools of Bida and the Ifa trays of the Yorubas.

These symbols, he added, will appear in his works, symbolising forces of nature, water, sun, life, death, rebirth and creation.

“I am influenced by Africa and at the same time, western culture. I have many ideas which I want to share with Nigeria and I have been exploring the concept of Africa and black people all over the world,” Omabegho said.

According to him, “the importance of art goes beyond artists, collectors and investors. It is the impact on the society of all creativity and glorifies the emergence of the creative mind of mankind from earliest times”.

He began abstract art by painting market women using colour purple, before attending Hussey college, Warri, Delta State; Cornel University, and later New York University.

His best known sculptures include the controversial ‘Zuma’ sculpture standing 30 feet tall at the United Nations Mission Plaza’s Nigeria House in New York, the 1976 convergence monument at the Lagos State House, the Communication sculpture at the NET Building, Marina, Lagos and the oval-shaped symbol of International Trade Fair, at the Lagos Badagry Expressway complex.

Omabegho’s recent Sculptures include, The Homage Series, which fuses multi layered metal discs and triangular shapes to show man’s interconnectedness with the universe; An Exploring Mind, made of aluminum and 24 protruding shapes, represents a deep connection with exploring science and nature.

Also showing is The Pillar of Dreams sculpture, a work with ascending and descending step-like patterns, representing the troughs and heights of existence; Solar Series, and Palette of the Sun Series, in which Omabegho graphically highlights the power of sun on the universe. 

His works have been exhibited in Brazil, London, Washington DC, and recently featured in the Global Africa Project Exhibition at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York in 2011.

“My forms have their roots in prehistoric African rock paintings and Pharaonic symbols,” he said.

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