Ben Osaghae (1962-2017): Jess Castellote's Obituary

Sometimes I don't quite know whether it is appropriate for me to blog about something or the other. This is one of these cases. And, this time it is because I don't know what I could possibly add and when that's the case I find it so much easier to just 'share' somebody else's ideas on Facebook, Twitter, whatnot. So, before I make this entirely and inappropriately about myself or delay this any further, let me just drop the news.

Ben Osaghae died on Tuesday.

I learned about the news via a Facebook message by Jess Castellote and it is to his obituary of Osaghae that I refer you here.

Ben Osaghae was, without doubt, one of the most prominent figures of a generation of Nigerian artists born in the years around the country’s independence in 1960. For three intense decades, Osaghae chronicled the adventures and misadventures of his land and people; he, like few of his colleagues and contemporaries, remained attentive to social and cultural developments in his environment. For the abstract expressionists of the middle part of last century, there was the art work and the viewer. Mark Rothko refers to “the consummated experience between picture and onlooker. Nothing should stand between my painting and the viewer.” For Osaghae there was another element: social reality; and the painting was a medium between the onlooker and that reality. Through his works, he communicated; he commented on what was happening around him. He straddled the thin divide between the artist as a creator of self-referential objects and the artist as a communicator.

I leave you with Castellote's superior authority here. So, continue to read on his blog. I'll only add the following two links (both from artnet) as a point of departure if you want to find out more about Ben Osaghae and his works.


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