Osaru Obaseki is a self taught artist from Edo State Nigeria.
She is one of the many rising artists in Africa who is making a big wave in the Contemporary art scene. In 2017, she joined Nosona Studios under the Edo global centre platform. This gave her a spring board to broaden her practice and gain immense opportunity.
She has recently exhibited her works in Rele Art Gallery – Young Contemporaries 2019 exhibition. A game changing opportunity that is already proving to propel her to new heights.
I’ve been lucky enough to get a moment of Osaru’s time, speaking to her about various subjects, from her journey as an artist to her view on the Contemporary African art scene.
Mary: When did your journey as an artist begin?
Osaru: I started at a tender age but my full time practice kicked off in 2017.
Mary: How would you describe your journey thus far as an artist?
Osaru:My journey so far has really been a process in stages. I would say there is no end to learning and growing as a creative. But, so far it has been great and I see myself breaking more grounds, creating art that matters and art that has impact to the society.
I would say Nosona Studios under the Edo global Art Center platform and the Young Contemporaries by the Rele art foundation has also been an amazing part of my journey so far.
Mary: It’s common in Nigerian households for creative career paths to be looked down upon – was this the case for you?
Osaru: Initially, yes it was. I really wanted to major in Fine Arts but got discouraged and ended up studying something else. This did not discourage me. I just continued creating art on the side and my family started to see the value of what I was doing and started supporting me the best way they could.
Mary: What advice would you give to young African artists going through a similar journey?
Osaru: My advice would be that they should persevere. They should know that consistency and continuity is key. Also, they should understand the need for mentorship.
Mary: In your collection, Red Earth is Blooming, you use a combination of sand and acrylic for your pieces. What inspired this technique?
Osaru: My medium being sand and acrylic was used to create a sense of identity and value amongst us. In the craze of civilisation and modernity we tend to forget who we are, we tend to forget our heritage. Sand and acrylic as my medium is my way of stranding two different civilisations (the ancient and the modern) in the new contemporaries. So my medium was and is inspired by my rich cultural heritage.
Mary: Why do you think it is that African artists are largely underrepresented on an international scale?
Osaru: My personal opinion is there’s this bridge that has been created for the younger artists to break through. People generally craze over aged art or art from older or dead artist – this does not really put the younger artist in the fore front. But in recent times, I’m really happy and grateful for the Rele Art Foundation and the Rele team for the great work they are putting in to promoting and showcasing young artists.
Mary: Do you have a creative process – what do you do before beginning a new painting?
Osaru: The process is not really the same all the time besides the conventional routine of preparing my canvas, mixing my sand with colours and sketching.. Basically the beauty of being a creative I am some what in control of how and when to start and end a painting.
So it really depends of my mood and state of mind at the time am starting a piece or while working on a piece.