Billy Omabegho, internationally celebrated contemporary artist, has returned home to Nigeria with an exciting new exhibition of recent modern minimalist sculptures. Omabegho, who is a respected visual artist, furniture designer, architect, and contemporary sculptor, is exhibiting an impressive new body of aluminum, stainless steel, wood & bronze forms, after many years working in his New York studio. Omabegho's best known Nigerian sculptures were created during Nigeria's FESTAC years in the 1970's, when the government's vibrant commitment to art in public spaces led to important commissions such as his Convergence monument at the Lagos State House on the Marina (1976), the Memorial to Mohammed installed in Benin City (1977), the Manila symbol monument at the Lagos International Trade Fair (1978), and the Communication sculpture at the NET Building Marina (1979). His 30 foot high, “zig zag” formed, welded aluminium and stainless steel Zuma sculpture, is one his most important works, representing the vital forces of nature which he translated into abstract forms representing birth and renewal. The sculpture was commissioned as an installation for the plaza in front of Nigeria House in Manhattan, New York. Zuma became one of the prized monuments of New York, showcasing Nigerian contemporary art in the heart of the city. In 2005, leading Nigerian artists under the auspices of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) and the media advocacy group, Communicating for Change, mounted a successful campaign against a move to have the Zuma sculpture replaced with a more “African” looking sculpture. “Billy”, as friends and associates fondly call him, is a quintessential renaissance African, combining his deep-rooted Ishekiri origins with a lively and broad based approach to African influences on global art and civilization. His writing and research on the origins of African art, is reflected in the ancient and pure forms of his bronze, aluminum, polished stainless steel and metal sculptures, which are made up of ultra-modern abstract forms, geometric shapes and strong diagonal influences. His new works include the Homage series, in which he presents multilayered metal discs and triangular shapes to show mans' interconnectedness with the universe. The series also has minimalist triangular shapes in the form of the ancient Ka symbol, revealing the human form in devotional stance with outstretched arms, embracing the very essence of life. His signature sculpture called An Exploring Mind, beautifully represents Billy's deep connection with exploring science and nature, and the need for our minds to reach out and seek knowledge. Omabegho is a master at combining highly technological influences and art processes on metal, which represent pure ancient African symbols. His beautifully crafted, simple forms are truly unique representations of contemporary sculpture at its best. After many years abroad, we are honored that Billy Omabegho is returning home on a nostalgic journey to his native Nigeria, to share his vision and exciting new collection with our dynamic & vigorously creative art community.
Publisher: SMO Contemporary Art