Ogiamien in Journey Through Time


Connoisseurs of art, artists, writers, educationists and high networth guests will from April 24 to May 4, 2019, converge on The Resource Place, Ikeja, Lagos, for Roland Udinyiwe Ogiamien Ogiamien exhibition of trado-contemporary sculptural pieces in bronze and wood.

Titled, Journey Through Time, the show is a reflection of Ogiamien’s trajectory in the arts.

Aside from showcasing some of his works, the event will also serve as platform to honour Adebanjo Fasuyi, as guest artist as he celebrates his 84th birthday. The octogenarian, a consummate artist, educationist and administrator will equally showsome of his works.

Growing up as a young man, Ogiamien’s father wanted him to be a teacher, as the talk and chalk profession was then more prestigious than working with chisel or palette, but the young Ogiamien ignored it and pursued his passion.

In his words: “My father was against my works. He said I was doing the job reserved for disabled people. He was ridiculed amid the extended family for my sake, but all that did not move me.”

Ogiamien instead went ahead to learn under the masters, honing his skills in woodcarving and sculpture, and making his works embrace classic forms in their composition.

According to the artist, who has practiced woodcarving and sculpture for over four decades, identifying the right type of wood to work with will further bring out the beauty of a person’s work. While saying that it is important to identify the right wood, Ogiamien noted hard woods are more difficult to shape, but they have greater longevity, while soft woods are easily damaged, even though they are easier to carve.

The master noted that carving is an intricate job that requires a lot of understanding, stressing that the nature of a wood determines his ideas and how to use it.

Though his works engage a lot of abstract and semi-abstract thoughts on the Benin folklore and contemporary issues, his artistic exploit, however, has gone through three stages — the early 60s, where he was an apprentice, 1969 to 1973 for his housemanship under Emokpae Erhabor and 1974 to date he has been on his own.

From 1973 to 1978, Ogiamien developed his own abstract and semi-abstract ideas inspired by the spirit world. According to him: “I did not invite or worship the spirit. It just visited and inspires me from time to time. Each time I pick a piece of wood, a voice tells me how to carve a beautiful piece out of it.”

But from 1979, his love for Christianity changed this approach and he began sculpting realism. This could be seen in some of his works like the Blessed Virgin Mary, Loving Couple, Mother and Child, Father and son, Night Romance, among others. These new works even though some are in traditional mould reflect his new thinking and centre on love for fellow human and joy.

Born 1945, in Benin City, Edo State, Ogiamien attended the Niger Commercial School, Benin City, where he distinguished himself in art and cultural activities. He moved to Lagos State in 1962 where he took a three-year apprenticeship course in wood carving under the tutelage of Mr. Akpamwinda Omoregie, at the then Lagos-Benin Ebony Carvers Cooperative Society Limited, Sabo, Yaba. Completing his apprenticeship, he proceeded to rediscover himself and evolved his own artistic style as a woodcarver.

Ogiamien has to date, no fewer than 40 shows, both within and outside the country. His first art exhibition held in 1973, during the 2nd All African Games. He lived and worked for about 40 years in Lagos until 2002, when he relocated to Benin City, marked by a solo exhibition that same year, titled: Back to the Root.

During the 2007 cultural exchange programme, Ogiamien was sent to Jamaica, where he taught Jamaicans the art of woodcraving.

From 2012 till date, he has featured prominently on yearly basis at the Agbara-Otor Harmattan workshop, Delta State, as a resource person, teaching wood sculpture to studio artists from various art studios and institutions within and outside the country.

Apart from Ogiamien’s works, other talents will also showcase their works.

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