O’DA Art Gallery is pleased and honoured to present ‘Lasting Figures’, an exhibition featuring works by Sculptor & Visual Artist, Reuben Ugbine (b.1956-2021).
Reuben Ugbine was a Post-War, Multi-disciplinary artist who lived and worked in Benin, Edo State. Throughout the duration of his studio practice, Ugbine mastered the art of carving and sculpting using materials such as wood, terracotta and metal railings. With identity at the centre of his sculptural work, he was able to explore the expressive possibilities of the human body as a means to demonstrate the nature of our being.
Becoming a full-time studio artist in 1987, Ugbine’s art career began during a tumultuous time in Nigeria’s History. Following the carnage from the Civil war, Nigeria was going through political and financial instability as her economy suffered a detrimental collapse in oil prices, while being faced with a security threat amidst polarising religious beliefs across the country. Ugbine’s sculptures are a contemporary manifestation of Nigerians’ adaptive nature over time. Through social and environmental issues, Ugbine was able to birth a timeless body of work that offered normalcy and beauty to others.
In an attempt to highlight he simplicity of human conditions, Ugbine was intentional with examining form and space in his pieces. In Athleticism, 2020 & Ball Tender, 2020 he manipulates the concave and convex within the figures to create intriguing solid, yet weightless 3-dimensional forms. In Meditation, 2019 & African Queen, 2018, Ugbine toys with elongated and exaggerated features in an effort to explore the different facets of identity and our ability to adapt according to our environment.
Presenting 20 sculptures that span over two decades of Ugbine’s art career, this exhibition captures, comprehensively, the evolution of his intricate woodcarvings and sculpting technique from 2001 to present day.