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Nasher Artist

Odili Donald Odita is an abstract painter whose work explores color—both in the figurative art historical context and in the sociopolitical sense. In March of 2015, he delivered the Annual Rothschild Lecture, a talk entitled, “3rd Degree of Separation,” at the Nasher Museum. That year, the Nasher Museum commissioned a mural by Odita in downtown Durham, and also a large-scale wall painting at the museum, in celebration of Nasher10, the museum’s first decade. Two of his works are part of the museum’s collection.

In fall 2017, Odili’s work was selected for Prospect.4, the citywide triennial in New Orleans, Louisiana, curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art. He created 17 bright flags and installed them around the city at historically significant locations.

Odita has been commissioned to paint several large-scale wall installations at museums and institutions around the world. In 2007, his large installation Give Me Shelter was featured prominently in the 52nd Venice Biennale. Odita’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Studio Museum in Harlem; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita; and Princeton University, New Jersey.

Odita was born in 1966 in Enugu, Nigeria, and lives and works in Philadelphia. He has been the recipient of a Penny McCall Foundation Grant in 1994, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant in 2001 and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 2007.

Color in itself has the possibility of mirroring the complexity of the world as much as it has the potential for being distinct. The organization and patterning in the paintings are of my own design. I continue to explore in the paintings a metaphoric ability to address the human condition through pattern, structure and design, as well as for its possibility to trigger memory. The colors I use are personal: They reflect the collection of visions from my travels locally and globally. In my process, I cannot make a color twice – it can only appear to be the same. This aspect is important to me as it highlights the specificity of differences that exist in the world of people and things.

Odili Donald Odita

Works by this Artist in the Collection

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