Nigerian artist, Toyin Odutola, is now the third highest paid Nigerian artist, after her drawing, ‘Compound Leaf‘ was sold for £471,000 (N215 million) at the Sotheby. According to reports, Odutola’s groundbreaking sales have surpassed sales made by artists like Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, and the legendary Ben Enwonwu.
Art as a coping mechanism: For Odutola, art serves as her coping mechanism since she moved from Nigeria to America as a child. The shock from her transition resulted in her questioning her identity. She began drawing to escape from her thoughts which further transformed into an “investigative, learning activity” for her.
Speaking with Vogue about how art helped her escape, she 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.
Exhibitions: Odutola has participated in so many exhibitions at various institutions, such as The Drawing Center, New York (2018—19); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017—18); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2016). She 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).
Her collections: Her permanent collections include Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art and New Orleans Museum of Art. 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).