Nigerian Bruce Onobrakpeya is 2007 Grand Prix Winner of Prints and Engravings
This year Bruce Onobrakpeya of Nigeria, who is arguably among the world's leading experimental printmakers in the world, has been named 2007 Grand Prix winner of the Sixth International Biennale Exhibition of Prints and Engravings in Versailles France.
The Biennale of Prints which is widely regarded as an international benchmark of works in this genre, focused this year on showing the world, the very best in terms of quality and diversity, Contemporary African Art, which is so often unknown, overlooked and reduced to a collection of ethnic clichés. "The art and exhibit on show were a reflection of a kaleidoscope universe, a combination of all the cultures and religions that make up the history of the African population. It is not only about Sub-Saharan black Africa, but also about the south and North Africa, each of them providing their own specific point of view, about nearby and faraway Africa, that is artist who live and work in Africa, but also those who have set up home in Europe or the U. S." states the organisers.
The winning entries by the septuagenarian Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya who clocks 75 years of age in August 2007, are titled "Dance to Enchanted Song and Dance in the Bush." Both artworks created in 2006, in plastograph, a widely subscribed to technique of printmaking, developed and popularised by the artist in the mid 1960s in his Lagos Ovuomaroro Studio in Nigeria.
The constellation of African artists and visual stars, who do not cease to amaze the world by drawing from their tradition to express their modernity, amongst which are stars like Mohammed Omar Khalil of Sudan, who is also considered a universally known master whose works have also appeared in the greatest cultural institutions. Some of the other artists who were shown, have not quite attained the same level of universal acceptance in mainstream global artistic creations, but are certainly full of promise in the years to come. Also featured during the Biennale is a selected a number of young particularly interesting French engravers. The quality of their work shows that engraving continues to propel beautiful creations of art just as much as creations in the medium of painting or sculpture.
In the closing remarks, The President of the Council General des Yvelines, organizers of the Sixth International Biennale Exhibition of Prints and Engravings in Versailles, France, on March 23, 2007, after announcing the grand prize winner and making a presentation of a modest cash award that accompanied the prize concluded, "I hope that everybody will discover a new image of Africa through this exhibition. The confrontation between French and African artists, a new kind of intercultural dialogue should also be mutually rewarding". In all there were fifty four artists representing eighteen countries in participation. Of all the countries, Egypt had the highest entries with 6 artists, while other countries included France, S. Africa, Ghana , Zimbabwe and Sudan amongst others.
The Sixth Biennale of Engraving and Prints runs from 23rd March to 24th June 2007 at Domaine de Madame Elisabeth, 73, Avenue de Paris, Versailles, France.