By G.G. Darah
Professor Bruce Onobrakpeya is the most eminent African visual artist and one of the greatest in the entire world. For 60 years, the genius of his creativity has edified and fascinated all continents of Planet Earth.
The Conference will be hosted by four academic and research institutions, namely, Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation (BOF), Urhobo Historical Society (UHS), Urhobo Studies Association (USA) and Urhobo Renaissance Society (URS).
The opening of the Conference is at 10.00a.m, on Friday, August 5. *The theme of the Conference is: _60 Years of Creative Genius_.* The Keynote and Lead Speakers include Emeritus Professor Dele Jegede, Miami University, USA; Professor Perkins Wilson Foss, Penn State University, USA; Professor Osa Egonwa, Delta State University, Abraka; Professor John Tokpabere Agberia, University of Port Harcourt; and Professor Janet Stanley of the Southsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA.
Onobrakpeya hails from Oghara Town of Agbarha-Otor Kingdom of Urhobo, Delta State, Nigeria. He is an alumnus of Western Boys’ High School, Benin (1957) and the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria (1962). In the past 60 years of prolific creativity, he has won practically every prize and award in the visual arts. These include Pope Paul VI Gold Medal (1977), Fulbright Hays Prize (1979), India Fifth Triennale Silver Medal (1982), Asele Institute Certificate (1985), Solidra Circle Award (1985), British Council Study and Travel Awards (1987), Bendel State Merit Award (1990), Delta State Lifetime Accomplishment Award (2006) and Living Human Treasure Award by UNESCO (2006).
Onobrakpeya is a recipient of the Doctor of Letters (D. Litt) degrees, Honoris Causa, of the University of Ibadan and Delta State University, Abraka. In 2011, the Urhobo Progress Union decorated him for promoting Urhobo culture and civilisation at the national and global levels. He is Member of the Federal Republic (MFR), and winner of the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM), the highest national laurel for intellectual and creative excellence.
Professor Onobrakpeya’s Ovuomaroro Gallery in Lagos and Agbarha-otor have hosted heads of state, diplomats, eminent public figures, and thousands of students and visitors. His multi-million Art Centre in Agbarha-Otor is the biggest and most prodigious private art institution in Nigeria. The annual Harmattan Workshop he started in Agbarha-Otor since 1998 has trained hundreds of talents in Nigeria and West Africa.
It is gratifying to note that the Urhobo nation produced this globally acclaimed master artist, iconic inventor, teacher, mentor and egalitarian humanist.
All previous birthday events were held in Lagos; this is the first to be hosted in Urhobo land. The Conference will serve as another symbolic homecoming for our hero and trail-blazer extraordinaire.
*Prof. Godini G. Darah*