Dennis Osadebe is a Nigerian mixed-media artist, based in Lagos. Osadebe’s vibrant post-pop style is centered around the idea of reimagining Africa through the use of positive, provocative, and progressive imagery, and narratives, forging a dialogue where tradition meets invention and innovation. Through juxtaposing elements of the past alongside the present, while utilizing his Nigerian heritage as a starting point, Osadebe places Africa in the context of the future and its limitless possibilities.
With his characteristic use of flattened planes, minimalist geometric shapes, and bold colors, Osadebe works in what he refers to as a “NEO” visual style, one that is modern, bright, and expressive. Osadebe coined the cultural movement, ‘Neo-Africa’ as a response to deconstruct the limiting, lazy term of ‘African Art’. This encourages people to rebrand tradition in a way that reflects the transforming world.
Osadebe’s process blurs the line between digital and psychical. The digitally composed scenes are elevated by painted adornments of carefully selected areas. This distinct texture change is inherent to the narrative of the work, by providing a visual relationship between the processes of the new generation artists and old masters together. Osadebe consequently renders each work as unique, as he removes the possibility for digital reproduction. The references to traditional materials and crafts, such as masks and colorful textiles, are inspired by the historic arts and culture of Osadebe’s home, Nigeria.
Osadebe’s practice is loaded with provocative surrealism, meaningful symbolism, and playful humor, presenting itself as a continuing investigation of the relationship between the traditional and contemporary, with Africa at its forefront.