Odili Donald Odita

    Odili Donald Odita was born in Engu, Nigeria, in 1966. In 1988, Odita received a BFA with Distinction from Ohio State University, and later obtained his MFA from Bennington College, Vermont in 1990.

    Odita is an abstract artist whose practice is concerned with the power and dynamics of colour. His work incorporates geometric patterns and vibrant hues, often on a large-scale, which he realises through painting, wall installations and now printmaking. Odita views colour as an active agent within his work, with the potential to mirror personal experience as well as broader historical and political turning points.

    He uses colours reminiscent of his own personal memories which, through a careful process of hand-mixing, are blended to create unique shades of colour within his various compositions. Taking inspiration from both his Nigerian heritage and Western identity, his work is informed by the desire to create something new from a set of distinct parts. Through his abstract configurations, he aims to express the complexity of culture, identity and history. 

    Odita is a professor of painting at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture in Philadelphia. In 2021 he was commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art to make a wall-based mural; entitled Walls of Change, it was conceived as a response to the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, when the museum steps became a regular site of protest. Other recent solo exhibitions and public commissions include: The Contemporary Dayton, Ohio (2022); Stanley Museum of Art, Iowa (2022); Penn Medicine’s Pavilion, Pennsylvania (2021); Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Virginia (2020); Institute of Contemporary Art, Florida (2019); Sarasota Museum of Art, Florida (2019); The Ford Foundation, New York (2018); Newark Museum, New Jersey (2017); the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Programme, Pennsylvania (2015); Nasher Museum of Art, North Carolina (2015); Yale Art Gallery, New Haven (2015); Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston (2010); Studio Museum, New York (2008).

    Notable group exhibitions include Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania (2021); Laumeier Sculpture Park, Missouri (2020); Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland (2019); Boca Raton Museum, Florida (2021); Cleveland Triennial, Ohio (2018); New Orleans Triennial, Louisiana (2017); Venice Biennale, Venice (2007).

    Odita’s work is held in numerous public collections across the USA including Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Mississippi Museum of Art, Mississippi; Nasher Museum of Art, North Carolina; Pérez Art Museum, Florida; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; Sheldon Museum of Art, Nebraska; Studio Museum, New York; and United States Mission to the United Nations, United Nations, New York.

    In 2023 Strenthal Books published a 400-page, comprehensive monograph spanning three decades of Odita's work. 

    Odili Donald Odita lives and works in Philadelphia, USA.

    Firewall: Online Viewing Room

    Odili Donald Odita: Firewall

    We are delighted to unveil four new screenprints by artist Odili Donald Odita, featuring the geometric patterns and vibrant hues, characteristic of a practice which is concerned with the power and dynamics of colour.

    Click here to find out more

    Top image: Odili Donald Odita, 2023 © the artist. Photo: Emily Jayne Alexander

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