#HistoryMaker – Toyin Ojih Odutola, Third Highest Paid Nigerian Visual Artist, Sells drawing ‘Compound Leaf’ for £471,000.

Toyin Ojih Odutola is a Nigerian-born, American visual artist known for her vivid multimedia drawings and works on paper, who has set a record  as the third highest paid Nigerian artist of all time after her drawing ‘Compound Leaf’ sold at the Sotheby’s for £471,000 (roughly N215 million). This record-breaking sale puts Ojih Odutola behind a fellow female artist, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, and the legendary Ben Enwonwu.

After moving from Nigeria to America at the age of five, Ojih Odutola became aware of her ‘blackness’ and questioned her identity. Due to the shock of this transition, she used art as a coping mechanism, and over time, it transformed into an “investigative, learning activity” for her. Ojih Odutola now produces multimedia drawings that engage in the complexity and shape-ability of identity. Shown in her unique style of complex mark-making, her lavish compositions rethink the category and traditions of portraiture.

Ojih Odutola has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art and Communications from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2008. In 2012, she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from California College of the Arts. She is represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City, where she lives and works.

In its 2012 list of 30 notable individuals under 30 in the category “Art & Style, Forbes featured Ojih Odutola. Her work was also the featured cover story for Juxtapoz Magazine in November 2017, on the occasion of her museum solo exhibition, To Wander Determined, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She was also appointed the Lida A. Orzeck ’68 Distinguished Artist-in-Residence for the academic year of 2017 to 2018 at Barnard College in New York, In September of 2018, was nominated as one of the 21 shortlisted artists for the Future Generation Art Prize for 2019 and was invited to create a tribute portrait of the late singer, songwriter and pianist, Aretha Franklin, For The New York Times Magazine’s annual The Lives They Lived issue, for its cover, published on December 30, 2018.

Best known for her highly-detailed portrait drawings, entirely or primarily done in black pen ink, Ojih Odutola’s work is held in many public collections, including: Museum of Modern Art, New York, Birmingham Museum of Art, AL, Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House, Hawaii, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. etc. Her more recent work has expanded to include charcoal, pastel, and pencil. Her permanent collections include Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art and New Orleans Museum of Art.

Ojih Odutola’s collections have also been displayed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Spencer Museum of Art, Honolulu Museum of Art, and the National Museum of African Art (Smithsonian).

Culled from wikipedia and punch

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