PLAYING BY DRAGON RULES
About The Artist
Abidemi Olowonira was born in Ibadan, Nigeria February 25, 1983. He contracted Polio when he was one year old while his parents were in the United States pursuing their higher studies. His grandmother raised him in Lagos through his adolescent and teenage years. She was a pottery maker and had a great influence on Abidemi.
His passion for art budded as a child in Lagos, where he began drawing paintings of his neighbors and friends for money. His fascination with African art, the vibrant colors and sophisticated patterns that characterized it continue to serve as a frame of reference in his creative endeavors.
In 2002, he relocated to Houston, Texas where he reunited with his family. Abidemi enrolled at the John T. Biggers School of Art at Texas Southern University. At TSU, Abidemi was reintroduced to his African aesthetics from an academic and artistic standpoint, which impacted the development of his expressive style, which he describes as a form of storytelling. In 2003, he began exhibiting his art and for the first time received an award for his works at Texas Southern University. In 2008, He was a featured artist in the 12th Annual Citywide African American Art Exhibition sponsored by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. It was the same year he met Chicago based visual artist, Abiola Akintola who would become his mentor and protégé. In December of the same year, he earned a BFA from Texas Southern University. Abidemi’s art has been displayed at the JP Morgan Chase Tower, Contemporary Arts Museum, the Museum of Cultural Arts, and at Rice University.
In 2010 Abidemi traveled to China with Abiola Akintola, as the first group of Black artists to ever create works for the opening of the Asian Olympic Games in Guangzhou, China. While in China, he also worked with the famous Chinese sculptor, Xu Hong Fei. In 2011 Abidemi was the recipient of the US China Business Association Art Exchange residency program in Shanghai, a one year long residency. In 2012, he was a Tashkeel Artist in Residence in the 2012 Art Dubai. Abidemi is currently pursuing his MFA at Houston Baptist University and continues to work on art projects, commissions, and exhibitions around the United States.
About The Exhibition
The University Museum presents Playing by Dragon Rule. This exhibition features two artists Abidemi Olowonira and Gregory Michael Carter who have lived in China and Japan respectively, partaking in a dialogue that showcases their experiences and recollections of their journeys, they intend to create a dialogue that transcends real and imagined identities and boundaries.
The exhibit explores interactions between transcultural and migratory models with a focus on the evocative aspects of the exchange. Works in this exhibition are a mere chapter in the on-going narrative of these artists.
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