Born 30th of August, 1932 in Agbarha-Otor, Delta state, Bruce Onobrakpeya is Nigeria’s foremost graphic illustrator, painter, printmaker and sculptor. He developed an early interest in art as a child as his father was a carver while his mother was a collector of local craft and beads. By the time he was in secondary school in Benin City, his artistic abilities were quite apparent. He went on, in 1957, to study fine art at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science & Technology (NCAST), Zaria and obtained a Diploma in Fine Arts, from, in 1961, specializing in painting and history of art. In a bid to take their artistic destiny in their own hands and rescue the culture and heritage of the nation which was eroding due to colonialism, he and other art students including Uche Okeke, Yusuf Grillo, Simon Okeke and Demas Nwoko started the Zaria Art Society in 1958 which promulgated the philosophy of “Natural Synthesis”, an artistic philosophy involving a synthesis of local/traditional Nigerian ideas and the new western ideas and techniques. He participated in the summer school of the Department of Extra Mural Studies, University of Ibadan and Mbari Artists' and Writers' Club, Ibadan, 1961. In 1962, he was certified as an Art Teacher and also apprenticed under the early modernist, Ben Enwonwu. By 1963, Bruce was a teacher at St. Gregory College, Lagos where he spent so many years before becoming a freelance artist around 1980. His early interest in printmaking led him to study with Dutch graphic artist, Ru van Rossem, at Mbari Artists' and Writers' Club, Ibadan, 1963. He also attended the Mbari Mbayo printmaking workshop, Oshogbo in 1964. Onobrakpeya has experimented and explored different art techniques including linocuts, woodcuts, drawing, sculpture, deep etching and painting in the course of his career spanning over five decades. He is also known for developing the “plastocast” and “plastograph” art techniques and his works explore folkloric themes of his rich Urhobo heritage. As a renowned professor, he continues to teach the usage of these techniques he is prominent for both in different institutions at home and abroad. His foundation, the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation seeks to encourage the growth of art and culture by giving opportunities to artists to grow their skills while at the same time raising awareness of African art and its benefits to society. The foundation organizes a Harmattan Workshop annually in his hometown in Delta state for young students to learn and develop their creativity and skills in the use of different artistic media. In 2018, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) for his contribution to the growth of art in the country and his service to the nation.

Triumph is an ivory etching abstractly portraying a community standing victorious over the lifeless bodies of their oppressors.


  • Title: Triumph
  • Creator: Bruce Onobrakpeya
  • Creator Lifespan: 1932
  • Creator Nationality: Nigerian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Birth Place: Agbarha-Otor
  • Date Created: 1994
  • Location Created: Nigeria
  • Physical Dimensions: 79 x 61cm
  • Type: Ivorex
  • Rights: Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Pan-Atlantic University
  • Medium: Ivory Etching

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