The Venice Biennale awards Nigerian architect, sculptor, and designer Demas Nwoko the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bustler editors report that Nwoko was born in the rural town of Idumuje-Ugboko and was educated at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology, and was one of the founding members of the Zaria Art Society. Along with members Bruce Onobrakpeya, Uche Okeke and Simon Okeke, and Yusuf Grillo, the group was referred to as the "Zaria Rebels."
In a press statement by the Biennale’s curator Lesley Lokko, she spoke highly of Nwoko's career, process, and impact. He's recognized for projects such as the Dominican Institute and Chapel in Ibadan, New Culture Studios in Oremeji, and Akenzua Cultura Centre in Benin City.
Lokko shared, "Baba (a Nigerian honorific title) Demas Nwoko is everything all at once: an architect, sculptor, designer, writer, set designer, critic, and historian. When pushed, he refers to himself as an “artist-designer,” which speaks both to the polyglot nature of his talents and oeuvres and to the rather narrow interpretation of the word ‘architect’ that has arguably kept his name out of the annals [...] One of the central themes of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition is an approach to architecture as an ‘expanded’ field of endeavors, encompassing both the material and immaterial worlds, a space in which ideas are as important as artifacts, particularly in the service of what is yet to come. With all of its emphasis on the future, however, it seems entirely fitting that the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement should be awarded to someone whose material works span the past 70 years but whose immaterial legacy — approach, ideas, ethos — is still in the process of being evaluated, understood and celebrated.”
Nwoko will be presented with the award during the inauguration ceremony of the Biennale on May 20th at Ca’ Giustinian, headquarters of the Venice Biennale.
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