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Auchi Art School

The Auchi Art School or formally known as the School of Arts and Design of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi came into being in 1974 under the supervision of the Late Dada Osazuwa as the Head of Department. It was then known as Department of Fine Art and began with a departmental strength of 6 lecturers.

In 1978, the School of Arts and Design metamorphosed into a larger school of 3 departments; the Sculpture / Ceramics Department, the Graphic / Textile Department and the Painting / General Art Department. These three independent departments have at different levels, trained and produced many renowned artists and sculptors including Olu Amoda, Ruben Ugbine, Olu Ajayi, Osahenye Kainebi, Duke Igbinedion, Moureen Ogierhiakhi, Ben Osaghae, Friday Idugie etc.

The Sculpture / Ceramics Department was for a long time known for its abstract cubic forms rendered in cement. It has however diversified into other areas and media though vestiges of cubism can still be seen in the works of many Auchi sculptors. The painterly style that emerged from the Painting / General Art Department of Auchi bears a distinct quality, with Auchi paintings from diverse artists bearing the same hallmarks of bright colours and vivid strokes. This distinct feature in Auchi art has had many criticize the art and style from the school as ‘similar across board’, ‘devoid of African motif’ or ‘stereotypically regurgitating the artistic approach or aesthetic trait of the school’. Of course, these claims are dismissed by Auchi enthusiats on the premise of the definition of an art school: ‘a group of artists following the same principles’.

The basic and original orientation of the Auchi painter is to apply colours as he sees it, systematically building forms and values. The Auchi School initially started off with a passion for impressionism, but later imbibed the fauvist palette, which culminated in the marriage between impressionism and fauvism, with more attention being paid to colour than forms; this perhaps influenced the School’s sobriquet ”the Stroke School”. To the Auchi painters, colour is the most important of all elements of art.

The first public exhibition hosted outside the Auchi Art School’s campus was in 1990, it was followed by another in 1993 tagged ”Together Towards Tomorrow”. The most successful and most current of these exhibitions is ”Colour Masters” held in DIDI Museum in April 1993. It was a good representation of Auchi’s message as an Art School, it was at this exhibition that the colourist tendencies of the Auchi School came into limelight with most of the painting in vivid raw colours, featuring fauvist palette with an impressionist touch.

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