Alum invited to prestigious Venice Biennale art showcase

Gondola in Venice BANNER

Abraham Onoriode Oghobase, an alumnus of York University’s Graduate Program in Visual Art, has been invited to the Venice Biennale in Italy, where the art world annually converges for a prestigious showcase of contemporary art.

Abraham Onoriode Oghobase
Abraham Onoriode Oghobase

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Oghobase pursues photography-based work that tackles themes of knowledge production, land, colonial history and representation, prompting viewers to reconsider familiar narratives and question established power structures.

In Venice, Oghobase is part of a select group of artists chosen to represent Nigeria in the country’s second-ever pavilion at the Biennale, which is acknowledged as one of the most prestigious cultural institutions that stands at the forefront of research and promotion of new contemporary art trends.

Titled “Nigeria Imaginary,” the pavilion presents an exploration of history and culture, filling a semi-restored palazzo in Venice’s Dorsoduro district with projects that offer nuanced perspectives on Nigeria’s past and present.

Oghobase’s pieces – a selection of images from four bodies of his work – featured in the pavilion challenge conventional narratives through digital manipulation and strategic appropriation of colonial imagery. These artworks prompt new perspectives on memory and contest established power dynamics.

Nigerian Pavillion in Venice
Oghobase’s work in Venice.

“It definitely signifies an acknowledgement of my practice in some ways, which, to be honest, gives one a boost of confidence to continue on your path,” Oghobase says, regarding the significance of the inclusion in this year’s Biennale.

It isn’t the only boost he’s received as a voice in contemporary art. Oghobase’s work has been exhibited in renowned institutions worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, establishing him as a leading voice in contemporary art. The exhibition in Venice has also recently be covered by the New York Times.

The Venice Biennale will run from April 20 to Nov. 24.