Toyin Odutola has become the third highest-paid Nigerian artist of all time after her drawing ‘Compound Leaf’ sold at the Sotheby’s for £471,000 (roughly N215 million).
This record-breaking sale puts Odutola behind Njideka Akunyili-Crosby and Ben Enwonwu who sold their pieces at N1.2 billion and N508 million respectively.
After moving from Nigeria to America at the age of five, Ojih Odutola became aware of her blackness and began questioning her identity.
Due to the shock of this transition, she used art as a coping mechanism, and over time, she said it transformed into an investigative, learning activity for her.
Speaking with Vogue about how art helped her escape, Odutola said: “I was obsessed, capturing everything I saw and being fascinated with the incredibly simple task of looking at something and transmitting it onto paper. It’s immediate magic”.
Odutola creates multimedia drawings on various surfaces investigating formulaic representations and how such images can be unreliable, systemic, and socially-coded.
She has participated in exhibitions at various institutions, including The Drawing Center, New York (2018—19); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017—18); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2016).
She has also exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2015); Studio Museum Harlem, New York (2015, 2012); Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield (2013); and Menil Collection, Houston, (2012).
Odutola’s collections have also been displayed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Princeton University Art Museum, Spencer Museum of Art, Honolulu Museum of Art, and the National Museum of African Art (Smithsonian).