Bruce Onobrakpeya: The
Mask and The Cross

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Date(s): 4/7/23 - 7/30/23
Start time: 10:00 AM
End time: 5:00 PM

High Museum of Art
1280 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

Price: $16.50
Type: Museums & Attractions, Visual Arts & Galleries

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This is the first solo exhibition at an American museum for sculptor and printmaker Bruce Onobrakpeya (born 1932), one of the fathers of Nigerian modernism and a founding member of the Zaria Art Society, an art collective that developed the “natural synthesis” aesthetic that came to define early postcolonial Nigerian art. The Mask and the Cross describes the artist’s creative phase from 1967 through 1978, during which he created numerous works marrying Nigerian tradition, folklore, and cosmology with Catholic motifs and stories from the Bible. This period began with the creation of a series commissioned by the Catholic Church titled Fourteen Stations of the Cross, which depicts scenes from the last earthly day of Jesus Christ. Onobrakpeya portrays Biblical characters as Nigerian and reimagines Biblical scenes in Nigerian settings. This exhibition will consider religious “double belonging” as an exercise in agency, subversion, and cultural resilience. Grounded in the High’s own edition of Onobrakpeya’s Fourteen Stations of the Cross prints, The Mask and the Cross will showcase other works from this period, as well as examples from later periods, as themes of religious hybridity and multiplicity continue to appear throughout the artist’s sixty-year career.

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