Jide Ojo | Afro Fine Arts
Portrait of Jide Ojo in 2011 by Mark Blackshear


Jide Ojo working on Children of the Ancestors


Tears of My Ancestors-Mini


Bubbles and Bursts #7


Bubbles and Bursts #6


Children of the Ancestors in progress


Bubbles and Bursts #3


Two Politicians


  Bubbles and Bursts #7, 2005

Bubbles and Bursts #7, 2005
Mixed media
13 x 15 inches

The Visionary Sensibility of Jide Ojo

Forged from an Urban Landscape

WRITTEN IN LARGE letters above the doorway of the backyard Brooklyn studio where artist Jide Ojo works is a bit of verse from the ancient Roman poet Horace, rendered in its original Latin. A well-known translation goes, "Life grants no boon to man without much toil," and this is as good an explanation as any for the intensity we see in the works of art created behind the studio’s doors and on the surrounding grounds.

Ojo creates works both large and small that are forged from bits and pieces of the urban landscape. He forms, out of glass, plastic, and other materials, works that are intensely labored without seeming laborious. Indeed, one remarkable quality that emerges from the studio is how the intensity that went into creating this art is realized as objects of beauty. Another is, paradoxically, how much these works almost belie the physical effort that went into them.

This art is both a reflection of the manufactured urbanscape and a meditation on the natural landscape. Ojo explains that the work is "just an introduction to what is already there." One can see this in the way material that suggests an object in the natural world, such as a leaf, becomes a work of art that is both close to nature in appearance while foregrounding its status as the product of the artist’s human sensibility.

Transforming and Reshaping

It all started some two decades ago when the artist took notice one day of a tableau made up of a bus shelter’s shattered tempered glass scattered on the sidewalk. He began collecting this glass, buckets of it, debris from late 20th Century society’s neglect of its urban environment, and spent the next several years considering what to do with it. Over time, the artist embarked on an intensive study of his materials. "Gradually the idea began to happen of how to use tempered glass," he remembers. He investigated how to best manipulate and reshape his materials. He thought of what adhesives to use in order to best affix the materials on canvas or wood, how to best mix them with paint, and with other media, and how to transform and reshape these totems of our neglect into new pictures and designs. After a decade, during which time he taught art in Brooklyn’s public schools and elsewhere, he began to exhibit the products of this inquiry.

Images of the results can be seen on this website. The fruit of the artist’s labor comes through in works like the larger than life mask-like and shield-like creations of his "Pregnant Ancestors" series, in the poignant, intimate works like the mixed media Two Politicians, as well as in the dozens of other works on display here. Taken together, these works by Jide Ojo demonstrate deep devotion to craft, a strongly felt aesthetic, a profound wit, and a visionary sensibility.

— Geoffrey Jacques

Recent News

Jide Ojo Exhibits at Ceres Gallery

Self 1972, 2002

Self 1972, 2002
Mixed media
35 x 45 inches

Jide Ojo joins twenty-eight other artists in the group exhibition Friends of Ceres.

Ceres Gallery
547 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
July 19 - August 13, 2014
Reception: Thursday, July 21
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm


GEOFFREY JACQUES is a poet, art critic and a longtime observer of the Brooklyn art scene who now lives and works in Southern California. He began his work as an art critic with essays published in The City Sun, a Brooklyn weekly newspaper. His work has also appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art, ArtForum International, and A Gathering of the Tribes. His latest books include a book of literary criticism, A Change in the Weather: Modernist Imagination, African American Imaginary (University of Massachusetts Press); his latest book of poems is Just for a Thrill (Wayne State University Press).