States Of Being

Odili Donald Odita

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Odili Donald Odita (b. Engu, Nigeria in 1966; lives and works in Philadelphia, PA) is an abstract painter whose work explores color both in the figurative historical context and in the sociopolitical sense. He is best known for his large-scale canvases with kaleidoscopic patterns and vibrant hues, which he uses to reflect the human condition.For Odita, color in itself has the possibility of mirroring the complexity of the world as much as it has the potential for being distinct. In his paintings, we see color interwoven and mixed, becoming an active agent in representing the essential power that light has in identifying the entirety of our world. He thinks of his colors as agents to express thoughts, ideas, and transformational change. Much of his color selection is based on personal memories and created intuitively by hand-mixing, so that no two shades are ever repeated.


Born in Nigeria and raised in the American Midwest, Odita’s work is also heavily inspired by a sense of dual identity, combining aspects of Western modernity with African culture. His practice speaks to a contrast of cultures and a desire to create something new from a set of distinct parts. In this sense, his paintings, like a stitched or quilted textile, are weavings from different spaces, times and various temperaments, which convey the complexity of culture, identity, and being.


Odili Donald Odita: Burning Cross
20th Street, Jan 10 – Feb 18, 2023
Stressed World
The School, Jun 05 – Dec 03, 2022
Odili Donald Odita: Mirror
20th Street, Sep 10 – Nov 07, 2020
Parking On Pavement
The School, Nov 17, 2018 – Mar 02, 2019
Odili Donald Odita: Third Sun
20th Street, Jan 05 – Feb 10, 2018
Odili Donald Odita: The Velocity Of Change
Dec 11, 2015 – Jan 30, 2016
Status Quo
The School, Jan 31 – Apr 12, 2015
This, That, And The Other
20th Street, Oct 18 – Nov 16, 2013
Body & Space
20th Street, Nov 18 – Dec 23, 2010
20th Street, Jul 06 – Aug 03, 2007
20th Street, Nov 17 – Dec 22, 2006
20th Street, Jun 29 – Jul 28, 2006