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Nigeria

"Accident & Design" - Gani Odutokun and his Influence

Thursday 20 January - Saturday 25 March 2000

Due to popular demand this exhibition will be open on the following Saturdays - 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th March.

Gani Odutokun was one of the most talented, prolific and inspiring artists to come out of Nigeria this century. His untimely death in a car crash in February 1995 meant the loss of one of Nigeria's pioneers of Modern African art. Accident and Design: Gani Odutokun and his influence, which opens at the Brunei Gallery, is a tribute to his genius, and to the art and artists that he inspired across Nigeria, but particularly at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Northern Nigeria where he taught and practised for most of his career.

This is the first major celebration of his paintings, drawings, architectural designs, writings and sculptural work outside Africa and shows why so many in the Nigerian art scene saw him as an inspirational figure. Gani's influence is traceable in the works of his peers and in many younger artists who trained in Zaria. His philosophy of "accident inducing design…" is not only an apt description of his life and death, but also of the works of numerous artists whose lives he touched, and who saw him as their mentor. These include painters Jacob Jari (Curator), Lami Bature Nuhu, Kefas Danjuma, Ayo Aina and Mu'azu Mohammed Sani; and sculptors K Ken Adewuyi, Matthew Ehizele, Lasisi Lamidi and Tunde Babalola. Accident and Design illustrates a vibrantly new, artistically, and intellectually, stimulating side of one of Africa's largest countries. In a wider context, the exhibition re-addresses instituted notions about contemporary Nigeria, her people and divergent cultures and re-examines issues relating to the arts from the African continent and Western expectations of contemporary African art.

Further details and images from the exhibition


The exhibition will go on tour to Brussels in June, and to the Caribbean in September, 2000.

A catalogue and a series of talks, in collaboration with the Art and Archaeology Department at SOAS, accompany the exhibition is planned during January. The talks will be an opportunity to meet participating and other leading artists, scholars and critics, to reflect on the contemporary issues affecting African artists today. Decades of Vision - Essays on Contemporary Nigerian Art, a project that Gani began before his death and which he hoped would reflect the true views and aspirations of artists living and working in Nigeria, will be published in 2001.

The exhibition has been sponsored by Universal Jet Trading; Gallery Mu'max; NOCACO; the Arts Council of England and Visiting Arts. Additional support to the project has been kindly provided by Alliance Française; Peugeot Automobile; E=mc2 Ltd.; Maison de France; I.B.B.I.; S.D.V. Freighting Co. Ltd. and Desmims Independant Television, The British Council, in Nigeria, The Commonwealth Foundation and the Royal Commonwealth Society.

For further information and details of the project and the artists involved the curators may be contacted by e-mail on:

aftshave@abu.edu.ng - Jacob Jari
annabelle_nwankwo@yahoo.com - Annabelle Nwankwo