Bruce Onobrakpeya: The Mask and the Cross

June 21, 2024 – January 21, 2025
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Bruce Onobrakpeya, b. 1932, Nigeria, Station VI: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus (detail), 1969, linoleum block print on rice paper, gift of Mr. George A. Naifeh, collection of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

National Museum of African Art
950 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC

Lower Level 1

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Celebrated Nigerian sculptor and printmaker Bruce Onobrakpeya began creating works depicting Christian iconography in 1966, when Catholic priests petitioned the artist to interpret the Passion of Christ. The resulting body of work, titled Fourteen Stations of the Cross, was well received, and Onobrakpeya continued to produce relief, print, and mural commissions for Catholic priests and parishes through 1978. Originally presented by the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA), Bruce Onobrakpeya: The Mask and the Cross showcases the earliest of these commissions, from the late 1960s, with the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art’s special presentation foregrounding the artist’s commissions in print.