OVIA Idah

Sculptor Birth: In 1908, in Oria. Died 1968. Training: Learned Benin-style wood and ivory carving, called "omada style" carving, while serving as a page under Oba Eweka II of Benin. Profile: Also known as Igbolovia (Igbinovia) Ida and Ovidah Ida; worked as carpenter and designer, Public Works Department, Lagos 1923-1947; teacher, King's College, Lagos; art instructor, Benin Divisional Council Secondary Modern School, Benin City, 1947-1950; head, carving section, arts & crafts school, Benin Divisional Council, until 1967; operated Olokun Gallery, Benin City, and trained artists; organized ebony carvers into the Carvers' Cooperative, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Benin City; worked in ebony, ivory, plastic, cement and wood; created terracotta and cement sculptures; influenced both Festus Idehen and Felix Eboigbe. Group Exhibitions Empire Exhibition, Glasgow, Scotland, 1938. Harmon Foundation, New York, USA, 1962, 1963 and 1964. "Contemporary African Art,"Camden ArtsCentre, London, August-September 1969. Commissions Clay and cement plaques, and sculptures, for the restoration of Oba's Palace, Benin City, 1940s. Carved wooden doors, Benin District Council. Bibliography "Benin Carvings, Specimens of Mr. Erhabor's Work," Nigeria (Lagos) no. 14: 146- 148, June 1938. illus. Beier, Ulli. "Idah: An Original Bini Artist," Nigeria Magazine (Lagos) no. 80: 4-16, March 1964. illus., port. [Reproductions of terracotta reliefs]. Black Orpheus (Ibadan) no. 17, June 1965. plates 1-8. Ben-Amos, Paula. Social Change in the Organization of Wood Carving in Benin City, Nigeria. PhD dissertation, Indiana University, 1971. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1971. 292pp. illus., bibliog. Dark, Philip J. C. An Introduction to Benin Art and Technology. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973. 114pp. illus. See pages 62, 106. Awoonor, Kofi. "Contemporary Art Forms," pp. 337-346. In the author's The Breast of Earth: A Survey of the History, Culture and Literature of Africa South of the Sahara, New York, NOK, 1975. Bascom, William. "Changing African Art," pp. 303-319. In: Ethnic and Tourist Arts: Cultural Expressions from the Fourth World, edited by Nelson H. H. Grabum, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1976. illus. [None by Idah]. Okpewho, Isidore. "Principles of Traditional African Art," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (New York) 35 (3): 301-314, spring 1977. Dickerson, Sara Jane Hollis. "Benin Artist Idah, Court Art and Personal Style," [special issue of] Interdisciplinary Studies (New Orleans) 2 (2): 1-98, March 1979. illus., bibliog. Dickerson, Sara. "Continuity of Iconography in Benin Art," pp. 20-24. In: Observations and Interpretations: 2000 Years of Nigerian Art, edited by John Povey and Arnold Rubin, Los Angeles, African Studies Center, UCLA, 1981. Peek, Philip. "Ovia Idah and Eture Egbede: Traditional Nigerian Artists," African Arts (Los Angeles) 18 (2): 54-59, 102, February 1985. illus. (some color). Nevadomsky, Joseph. 'The House That Idah Built," African Arts (Los Angeles) 19 (2): 8, February 1986. Blackmun, Barbara Winston. "Oba's Portraits in Benin," African Arts (Los Angeles) 23 (3): 61-69, 102-104, July 1990. illus., notes, bibliog.
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