Odili Donald Odita is born in Enugu, in Nigeria. He lives and works in Philadelphia, in the United States.
Odita is an abstract painter whose work explores colour both in the historical context of figurative art and in its socio-political aspects. Odita has said, “Color itself has the possibility of mirroring the complexity of the world, in as much as it has the potential for being distinct. The organization and patterning in the paintings are of my own design. In the paintings I continue to explore a metaphoric ability to address the human condition through pattern, structure and design, as well as explore it for its possibility to trigger memory.” Odita has also expressed his desire to speak out, in his work, for Africa and its rich culture.
In recent years, Odita has been commissioned to paint a number of large-format wall installations, including the mural at The United States Mission at the United Nations in New York (2011), at the Savannah College of Art and Design (2012), New York Presbyterian Hospital (2012), New Orleans Museum of Art, Kiasma, Helsinki (2011) and George C. Young, U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in Orlando, Florida (2013).
Odita has exhibited in museums and institutions worldwide including the Savannah College of Art and Design; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Studio Museum in Harlem; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita; and Princeton University.
His works are present in public and private collection, amongst which The American Council on Education, Washington; The Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama; The Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington; The Miami Art Museum, Florida; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; and The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York.
His most recent solo shows include: Evolving Geometries: Line, Form, and Color, Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, United States, 2014; Third Degree of Separation, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa, 2015; and The Velocity of Change, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, 2015.
He received the Penny McCall Foundation Grant in 1994, the Joan Mitchell Foundation grant in 2001 and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 2007. Also in 2007, his large installation Give Me Shelter was presented in the exhibition Think with the senses, Feel with the mind: Art in the Present Tense, curated by Robert Storr, at the 52nd Venice Biennale.