OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait, Untitled Head, 2018 

OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait, Ikenga , 2018 

OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait, Red Cap Chief, Etsako Head, 2016 



I explore the light sheen of graphite, the matte, light-absorbing quality of black pastel, the white of paper and canvas, and the interactions of color, investigating how all of these optical attributes can be used to create something evocative about the shape of the head. I am interested in the dualism of form and void, the tangible and intangible, something and nothing, light and dark, body and mind,  the self in portraits. The title Self-Portrait  in my work is about the intangible self rather than a literal portrait of the artist.

My drawings
, described in The Village Voice, by the art critic - R.C. Baker as, "shape-shifting..., space-warping geometric abstractions", are about blackness - not as an absence of light, but as light that is not perceivable by the eyes. Thus my work speaks to all that is unseeable and unknowable about the nature of being.

My paintings celebrate color, the excitement and brightness of color, and its ability to take us to places in our psyche that are full of energy. My compositions, often inspired by the abstract geometric possibilities I see in African art and cultural objects, focus on the head as a center of waking and dreaming consciousness.

The construction of a sense of self is a very complex process, perhaps even more so as the world gets less and less exotic and is being experienced more as a sphere of commonalities of being, dreams, fears and aspirations; and as the boundaries between race, nationality, gender and sexuality are getting more and more blurred. I am interested in issue of self identity, and in concepts of the self rooted in my cultural experiences growing up in Nigeria, as well as global, metaphysical, scientific, and social concepts of the self.