Born in 1966 in Enugu, Nigeria, Odili Donald Odita explores color both in the figurative art historical context as well as in the sociopolitical sense, expressing his desire to highlight Africa and its wealth of culture.According to the artist: “color in itself has the possibility of mirroring the complexity of the world as much as it has the potential for being distinct. The organization and patterning in the paintings are of my own design. I continue to explore in the paintings a metaphoric ability to address the human condition through pattern, structure and design, as well as for its possibility to trigger our memory. The colors I use are personal: they reflect the collection of visions from my travels locally and globally. This is also one of the hardest aspects of my work as I try to derive the colors intuitively, hand-mixing and coordinating them along the way. In my process, I cannot make a color twice – it can only appear to be the same. This aspect is important to me as it highlights the specificity of differences that exist in the world of people and things“.
Odita’s work has been displayed in solo exhibitions in museums and institutions across the globe. In recent years, Odita has been commissioned to paint several large-scale wall installations for instituions including The United States Mission at the United Nations in New York (2011), theSavannah College of Art and Design (2012), , New Orleans Museum of Art (2011), Kiasma, Helsinki (2011). The artist has been the recipient of a Penny McCall Foundation Grant in 1994, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant in 2001 and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant in 2007. Also in 2007, his large installation Give Me Shelter was featured prominently in the 52nd Venice Biennale exhibition Think With The Senses, Feel With the Mind, curated by Robert Storr.
Odili Donald Odita lives and works in Philadelphia, where he is a Professor of Painting and Drawing at Tyler School of Art, Temple University.