Omodele Jegede is a Nigerian illustrator, art historian, cartoonist and painter born in Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti state in 1945. He obtained an OND and HND in Fine Arts from Yaba College of Technology between 1965 and 1969; a BA (First Class Hons) in Fine Arts from Ahmadu Bello University, 1973; MA and PhD in Art History, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, in 1981 and 1983 respectively. Dele started out his career in Nigeria as a cartoonist in 1972, publishing series of cartoons in the Nigerian press through which he lent his voice to the social and political challenges/happenings in the country at the time. He has lived and worked as an artist and a scholar in the US since his relocation in the 80s in numerous institutions including the Spelman College, Atlanta (1987-88); the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, (1995); Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (2005-2010) among others. He retired as an emeritus professor in 2015. Dele has been recognized and lauded for his contributions to the growth of African art through his scholarly research, publications and curatorial pursuits.
The Niger Delta Apocalypse is an expression of the terror and catastrophe associated with pipeline vandalism, a commonplace in the oil-rich Niger Delta of Nigeria. Dele seeks to address this man-induced disaster which is “apocalyptic” in every sense as it is hazardous to the both human, plant and animal lives and property in the region. Explosion of pipelines, oil rig locations or tank farms also occur out of negligence and failure to strictly adhere to safety rules and procedures on the part of the oil and gas companies in the region, as outlined by the governing bodies. Currently on display at the exhibition Mirroring Man: Society and Politics in Nigerian Art at the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, this colourful painting by Dele Jegede invites the attention of all viewers to, for a moment, reflect on the unhealthy activities of militants and the oil exploration companies which potentially could lead to a very sad end of the region if it continues.