I love museums.
They transport you to an artistic place where you conjure past, present, and future.
One of my favorite museums is The Rodin Museum in Paris. It was opened 2 years after the death of French sculptor, Auguste Rodin and hosts thousands of his works and others he collected during his life.
The lives of artists can be intriguing and Rodin is not an exception. There is his steamy-stormy relationship with Camille Claudel and controversies surrounding works he was commissioned to do such as a monument to French novelist, Balzac.
Still, The Rodin Museum is one of the most visited museums in Paris with an estimate of 700,000 visitors annually.
Does any Nigerian artist have what it takes to set up a museum in his name?
A Nigerian artist that comes readily to mind is Bruce Onobrakpeya. Some call him Prof, but I like to keep things personal here :). Onobrakpeya works with print, sculptures, paint, and writes.
In his over 5 decades of being an active artist, he has authored art textbooks, taught at art workshops, illustrated classic novels and created pieces that have become art household names.
Take for example his work, Gala Day Under the River. Like Rodin’s The Thinker, this work has been replicated into different art forms. It is inspired by one of the works of self-taught novelist, Amos Tutuola.
What would it take to have a museum that visitors can walk in and experience the works of Bruce Onobrakpeya?
There is an ongoing exhibition in Lagos of Onobrakpeya’s works and hundreds of other artists he has coached during his career. It is organized by curators, SMO Contemporary Art and they have done a great job setting up this exhibition on the 4 floors of the newly built Lagos Court of Arbitration.
The Nigerian art scene is gathering some steam and with some properly aligned forces, A Bruce Onobrakpeya museum may not be far off.
Until then, here are some of my favorite pieces from The Rodin Museum.