The Past is Present, 2021
Samson Ogiamien


Samson Ogiamien’s work is a meeting between Beninese bronze art, which has its roots in spiritual, ritual contexts, and Western modern sculptural traditions. Ogiamien was trained as a sculptor both in Benin City and at the Ortweinschule in Graz, and his hybrid works reveal the result of cultural cross-pollination. The execution of the sculptures Commemorative Head of a Queen and Commemorative Head of a King, for example, shows clear references to Benin’s traditional memorial busts. Now, however, it is no longer high birth that grants such an expensive, elaborate bronze casting, since Ogiamien dedicates it to friends in exile, who in this way return to their ritual context after their death. Ogiamien thus becomes a mediator and intermediary between cultures as well as between tradition, modernity and the present.