Oliver Okolo- Artist Profile

Oliver Okolo has mastered the art of art. He paints in such a way that makes you wonder how he does it and if you will ever be able to create art like him. His art is weirdly inspiring. The colors, the people in it, and the meaning behind it move you in an exciting but novel way. The Africanness in his art is mind-boggling.

Who is Oliver Okolo?

Oliver Okolo, a figurative artist, was born in Suleja, Nigeria, in 1 92. He is one of the most intriguing artists now active in and outside of Nigeria. He is a crucial character in a new vanguard that questions and deconstructs harmful racial conceptions and knowledge systems by portraying Black people with a self-assured and forceful gaze. He and his family are currently residing and working in Abuja, Nigeria. He is a devoted spouse and doting parent.

Okolo Oliver’s Artistic Background, Exhibitions and Works

Okolo studied at Caritas University, earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial relations and personnel management. He, however, decided to follow his desire to become an artist. In 2016, he studied and worked in the atelier of Clement Nwafor, a master in painting and drawing.


He has done five group exhibitions in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. He made these exhibitions in Nigeria, Ghana and even Sweden. He has had two residencies in Ghana and Chicago between 2020 and 2 21. He has had art fairs and commissions and has even been quoted in bibliographies.

He did a solo exhibition in 2018 titled “Shades” at Enigma Art Collective, The Cube Cafe, Abuja, Nigeria. His most recent solo exhibition was in 2021. It was titled “I Forgot To Tell You, Now Listen” and displayed at Gallery 1957. Accra, Ghana.

Okolo’s paintings and sketches today frequently draw inspiration from Western artists such as Vermeer and Michelangelo and reimagine them with Black mot fs. He uses the word “classical contemporealism” to describe how he combines classical and modern aesthetics.

Okolo currently has about 38 artworks, with 20 of them up for sale, ranging between $7,500 to $15,000 per artwork. Some of his artworks are “Harlem Boys,” “I No Get King,” “I Forgot To Tell You Now Listen,” “You Forgot To Listen,” “Madonna Of The Lonely Gaze,” “Cactus Love,” “My Daughter Wears Vermillion” and so many others.

Okolo Oliver’s Personality and Philosophy

What stands out about Okolo is that he prefers using charcoal to paint because of its versatility and texture.

His solo exhibition “I Forgot To Tell You, Now Listen” talks about everything the artist has always wanted to say but hasn’t been able to. It is very personal and intimate. Okolo tried to reveal important details of his existence, the things that formed him. It expresses how his Igbo origin is interwoven with his contemporary way of life and impacts his thinking and creative process. Having grown up in Anambra, Nigeria, he often questioned some of their norms and beliefs. For example, he portrays a love story between a Diala and an Osu (outcast). Such a thing was an abomination. This is one of the things that Okolo questioned. Why can’t a Diala and an Osu be together? Why is Osu an outcast?

He also tries to portray how our culture and tradition have shaped our mentality as black people. He tries to use memorialization as a tool for socio-political and cultural mediation.

Okolo is fascinated by the intricacies of the human form as a striking example of natural creation. He spends his time in the studio honing his artistic technique and looking for ways to enhance his capacity for expression constantly. He writes about issues he believes are underrepresented or unspoken about in Nigeria.




Instagram – okolo_oliver


Covering art stories from South Africa.
I'm all for aesthetics and pretty things. Philosophy student at he University of Lagos. I love books, singing, music, anything creative!

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