Sam Ovraiti

Sam Ovraiti

Widely known as the most expressive water colourist in Nigeria, Sam Ovraiti has the ability to not control the medium he works with but instead to speak the language of the medium, letting the medium dictate the artwork. The result is a purified, beautified reality. Due to his outstanding excellence in art, a scholarship in honour of Sam Ovraiti was set up at the famous Auchi Polytechnic where he graduated with distinctions and several awards. With several solo exhibitions and an extensive number of group shows in Nigeria, Europe and USA, Sam Ovraiti is one of the most accomplished artists of his generation.



Sam Ovraiti was born in Zaria, Nigeria in 1961. He attended the famous Federal Polytechnic in Auchi, and the University of Benin, both in Edo State, where he studied General Art & Painting and obtained a Masters of Fine Art degree respectively. He graduated with Distinctions and won several academic and national prizes including 1st prize winner at the Mobil Producing National Painting Competition. After a short spell as a guitar instructor, he joined the Federal polytechnic, Auchi as a lecturer in painting, drawing and illustration in 1985. He remained there until 1993 by which time he had gained a reputation as the most expressive water colourist in Nigeria. Following his lecturing days, he has been working as a full time professional artist.

Sam is a gentle and philosophical soul with a tenderness that cannot easily be described but greatly felt. This perhaps explains his ability to not control the medium he works with but instead to speak the language of the medium, letting the medium dictate the artwork. The result is a purified, beautified reality. This pure and simple reality is dominant in his watercolour works. His works in the oil medium build on this and express a different aspect of his art, one more complex and layered.

Sam’s current exploits include the passion series and the fishes of life series. The passion series is an experimentation and report on the activities that people do passionately. These activities honour various African women ceremonies such as marriage and christening. The fishes of life series is based on the fish as a source of inspiration for colour application and exploration of shapes which form a large part of Sam’s art.

With several solo exhibitions and an extensive number of group shows in Nigeria, Europe and USA, Sam Ovraiti is one of the most accomplished artists of his generation. He lives with his wife Stella and children in Lagos.


Date of Birth: 30th July, 1961
Place of birth: Zaria, Nigeria
Nationality: Nigerian
Marital Status: Married with children


1994 � 1999
University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
Masters of Fine Art (MFA)

1979 � 1983
Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Nigeria
HND Painting (Distinction)
OND General Art

1978 � 1979
Hussey College, Warri, Nigeria

1973 � 1978
James Welchi Grammar School, Emevor, Nigeria

1966 � 1972
St. Andrews Primary School, Warri, Nigeria


Guild of Fine Arts, Nigeria
Society of Nigerian Artists, Nigeria
Colour Masters, Auchi, Nigeria
Watercolour Society, Nigeria
Art Rite, Nigeria


2004 Auchi Polytechnic Merit Award for OUTSTANDING ALUMNI
2004 Guinness Top Three Award for Contemporary Artist in Nigeria
1991 Scholarship to Fine Art Students at Auchi Polytechnic by the American Ambassador to Nigeria, Lannon Walker, in special recognition of Sam Ovraiti�s excellence in art.
1991 Auchi Leo Club � Recognition of philanthropic contributions
1990 P.M. JAM Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi � Award for Patron of the Year
1990 Jaycees Auchi � Award for Service to the Community
1983 Mobil Producing � Winner of National Painting Competition
1983 Auchi Polytechnic � Rector�s Certificate of Excellence for Best Graduating Student in Painting
1983 Auchi Polytechnic � Fasuyi Price for Best Student in Painting
1976 � 79 Numerous Awards and Fine Art Prizes at Secondary School Level.


1999 Sam Ovraiti, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria
1999 Wonders of the earth, University of Benin, Nigeria
1998 Mainstream, Tributaries, Iola gallery, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria
1992 New painting � Alliance Francaise, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria
1990 Transient moments, Italian Cultural Centre, Lagos, Nigeria
1989 Sam Ovraiti, Alliance Francaise, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
1988 Contemporary paintings from Nigeria � Middle Helm, Castle Antwerp, Belgium
1987 Presenting Sam Ovraiti, Alliance Francaise, Kano, Nigeria
1983 Sam Ovraiti: Metropolitan Club, Ikoyi courtesy Mobil Producing Nigeria


2006 modernafricanart exhibition at BTJ, Lund, Sweden
2006 modernafricanart exhibition at M�klarhuset Hellborg & Partners, Lund, Sweden
2005 Quintessence Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
2004 Galleria Romania, (annual pastel exhibition), Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
2003 Agbaro-otor 2002, 4th harmattan workshop exhibition, Lagos, Nigeria
2003 African Passage, Air gallery, London, UK
2003 Total Fine Art Exposition, Lagos, Nigeria
2003 Addax Oil (Tola & Ovraiti), Lagos
2003 Mydrim Gallery (annual pastel exhibition), Lagos, Nigeria
2002 Agbaro-otor 2001, 3rd harmattan workshop exhibition, Lagos, Nigeria
2001 National Council for Art & Culture, History 25 years Collection, Lagos, Nigeria
2001 History of Contemporary Art in Nigeria, Monson Centre, Lagos, Nigeria
2001 Nicole Peck exposition, Elf Village, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria
2001 Ash Bert Marquee, Polo Club Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
2001 Velvety Dreams, an exhibition of pastel paintings, Mydami Galleryy, Lagos, Nigeria
2000 Weibciche genital verstummelung, a female circumcision in Nigeria � the suffering, the sorrow, the set back, Germany
2000 Behind the wall, Vermillion Gallery, Galleria Romania Gallery Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
2000 Take one woman, Gallery Whitelays, London, UK
2000 Office of the future, Andersen Consulting, Lagos, Nigeria
2000 Female circumcision in Nigeria, Jubilee Room, Palace of Westminster, British Parliament, London, UK
2000 Ovuomaroro Harmattan Exhbition, Aina Onabolu Building, National Theatre, Lagos, Nigeria
1999 Female Genital Mutilation Exhibition, USA
1999 Four Nigeria Artists, Lagos Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
1998 Inaugural Exhibition, B & C Gallery, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria
1998 Halis Ventures & Brech Land Estate Exposition 98 � Exhibition of paintings and sculptures, Lagos, Nigeria
1998 Leventis Foundation, Colour Masters � Didi Museum, Lagos, Nigeria
1998 Nicole Pick Exposition of Nigeria Art, Elf Village, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria
1997 Auchi School, Nimbus Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
1995 Nigeria Contemporary Art, Texaco Overseas, Lagos, Nigeria
1994 Nigerian Artists Exhibition, Texaco Overseas, Lagos, Nigeria
1994 Inaugural Exhibition, Treasure House Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
1993 Nigerian Contemporary Art Expo, Texaco Overseas, Lagos, Nigeria
1993 Art from Africa and Asia, Documental Exhibition, Germany
1993 Let it flow, Mydrim Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
1993 First miniature group exhibition at Fenchurch
1992 Tropical arts and craft, Ikoyi Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria
1992 Together towards tomorrow, Lagos
1991 Goethe Institute, Exhibition of Watercolours & Drawings, Lagos, Nigeria
1991 Vestiges � Atanda Group of Artists � Ondo State Centre for Art and Culture, Ondo, Nigeria
1990 Auchi School towards 21st Century Art: National Council for Art and Culture, Lagos, Nigeria
1990 Federal University of Technology (4th graduation exhibition) exhibition by the Auchi School of Art
1989 Makers of the Auchi School, Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria
1989 Hilton Art Expo, Abuja, Nigeria
1989 Auchi School towards 21st century art, Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Nigeria
1988 Sinsemillia Art Expo at Lagos Sheraton hotel, Lagos, Nigeria
1986 Opening Ceremony Exhibition, Michelangelo Art Gallery, Benin City, Nigeria
1986 Opening Ceremony Sinsemillia Art gallery, Benin City, Nigeria
1986 Sinsemillia Art Expo, Sheraton hotel, Lagos, Nigeria
1986 Sinsemillia Gallery, Saudi Centre, Benin City
1985 Art Exhibition, Awala Hotel, Bauchi, Nigeria
1983 Final year painting exhibition, Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Nigeria
1983 Mobil Exhibition, Metropolitan Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
1982 H.N.D.I Class Exhibition, Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Auchi, Nigeria


1987 Garki International Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria
1988 Safari Night Club – Nicon Noga Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria
1989 All Saints Anglican Church, Altar Piece, Auchi, Nigeria
1993 � 04 Paintings for numerous calenders
1996 Portrait of Ali Yabani � National Board for Technical Education, Kaduna,  Nigeria
1996 �  Numerous commissions for private and financial institutions all over Nigeria


National Gallery for Art and Craft, Iganmu, Lagos, Nigeria
Texaco Overseas, Lagos, Nigeria
Mobil Producing, Lagos, Nigeria
Punch Newspaper, Lagos, Nigeria
Conoco Energies, Lagos, Nigeria
Ocean Energy, Lagos, Nigeria
Guinness Nigeria plc, Lagos, Nigeria