Colette Oluwabamise Omogbai

  • Born 1942 in Zaria, Nigeria

Colette Omogbai is a pioneering Nigerian painter who identified as a Surrealist. She received a degree in painting from the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology (now Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria) in 1964, where she met artists of the Zaria Art Society such as co-founder Uche Okeke. During her first solo exhibition, at Mbari Ibadan in 1963, her works rejected academic realism for an expressionism verging on pure abstraction, with anguished figures and areas of bright color. When she moved to Lagos after graduating in 1965, her bold, formal experimentation provoked critics to find her works “unfeminine.” She retaliated in a promodernist manifesto, “Man Loves What Is ‘Sweet’ and Obvious,” published in Nigeria magazine in 1965. Omogbai later studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, and received a PhD in art education from New York University.

Artworks by Colette Oluwabamise Omogbai in the exhibition