Abe Odedina was born in Ibadan Nigeria in 1960. He is married with two children and lives and works in London/Salvador Bahia.
A practising architect and self taught painter, he started painting several years ago when on a trip to Brazil he fell under the spell of the magical popular arts particularly of Bahia and Pernambuco. This ignited a passion that lead to the discovery of the Voodoo arts of Haiti and the Painters of the Sacred Heart.
He paints with Acrylic on plywood. The paintings are flat with the surfaces ordered without the aid of perspective or concern for the laws of gravity, encouraging a mythical interpretation of the world.
Abe’s paintings delight in the use of colour and imaginative pictorial statement. These qualities are rooted in the traditions of expressive figurative paintings that can be found in the streets in cities, like Lagos, Salvador, or Port-au-Prince adorning the sides of lorries, on the walls of temples, beer parlours, love motels or advertising the services of barbers, vulcanisers, healers and other specialists.
The figurative subjects are distilled to their essential forms in a bold and stylised manner. The paintings which often incorporate descriptive titles or other text explore personal and universal themes expressed to create a vivid and intense world.
It is a world of sharp contrasts populated by Orishas, Saints, and farm animals as well as a cast of fictional character such as Captain Nice, Amazing Grace, Area Boy, Bloody Mary, Mary of Hull, Prince Charming, Joy Rider, Best Boy, Lucky Derek, Angel of the South, Can do Noah and many more.
Because of his belief in the power of art to transform reality into images of a miraculous world it is no accident that his paintings are engaged with the idea that reality is an interplay of the visible and the feasible.