Toyin Ojih Odutola has become the third highest-paid Nigerian artist of all time after her drawing ‘Compound Leaf’ sold at the Sotheby’s for £471,000 (roughly N215 million).
News Agency of Nigeria reports that this record-breaking sale puts Ojih Odutola behind a fellow female artist, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, and the legendary Ben Enwonwu.
After moving from Nigeria to America at the age of five, Ojih Odutola became aware of her ‘blackness’ and questioned her identity.
Due to the shock of this transition, she used art as a coping mechanism, and over time, it transformed into an “investigative, learning activity” for her.
Speaking with Vogue about how art helped her escape, Ojih Odutola said, “I was obsessed. Capturing everything I saw and being fascinated with the incredibly simple task of looking at something and transmitting it onto paper. It’s immediate magic.”
Ojih Odutola creates multimedia drawings on various surfaces investigating formulaic representations and how such images can be unreliable, systemic, and socially-coded.
She has participated in exhibitions at various institutions, including The Drawing Center, New York (2018—19); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017—18); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2016).
She has also exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2015); Studio Museum Harlem, New York (2015, 2012); Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield (2013); and Menil Collection, Houston, (2012).
Her permanent collections include Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art and New Orleans Museum of Art.
Ojih Odutola’s collections have also been displayed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Spencer Museum of Art, Honolulu Museum of Art, and the National Museum of African Art (Smithsonian).