Biography

Tonie Okpe was born on February 17th, 1961 in Otukpa, in Benue State of Nigeria. After attending St. Murumba College, Jos, he proceeded to enroll in 1978, at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he studied sculpture at both BA and MFA degree levels, graduating in First Class in 1982 for the BA and completed MFA in 1986 after joining staff of the Department of Fine Arts at his alma mater in 1984.

He is a member of several professional associations which include, Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) Nigeria, Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) U.S.A., Aftershave International Artists Workshop, International Society for Education through Art (InSEA), Nigerian Society for Education through Art (NSEA), American Studies Association of Nigeria (ASAN), International Sculpture Center (ISC), U.S.A., African Studies Association (ASA), U.S.A., Nigerian Society for Education through Art, (NSEA). He has won several awards and grants from, Federal Government of Nigeria, Nigerian Arts Council, Ahmadu Bello University, British Council Nigeria, Upper Austrian Government, Czech Republic Government, Danish Government, Belgian Government, Turkish Government, National Gallery of Art, Nigeria.

He has held solo, group exhibitions and participated in sculpture symposia with works in public and private collections in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, United States of America, Turkey, Denmark and Czech Republic. As a result of his teaching career, at Ahmadu Bello University, Tonie has contributed articles published in academic journals and books at home and abroad. International art visits include Dakar Biennale, Venice Biennale and Documenta XII. In 2004, Tonie was a recipient of Ford Foundation/Triangle Art Trust Fellowship as Sculptor-in-Residence at the Vermont Studio Center, USA as well as being awarded Visiting Artist status as Artist-in-Residence recently at the National Gallery of Art, Nigeria in 2006. He is included in Nigerian Artists: A Who is Who & Bibliography; published by, The Smithsonian Institution Libraries, U.S.A.

Tonie was a member of African Regional Exhibition and Summit on the Visual Arts (ARESUVA) 2008 Central Working Committee held in Abuja, Nigeria, as well as the Secretary of the exhibition Sub- Committee. He again served as one of three Curators during the 2009 edition of ARESUVA and remained a Consultant to the National Gallery of Art, Nigeria. In 2010, Tonie Co – Curated Trends: Six Artists Single Platform, an exhibition of works of six Nigerian Artists for the Dakar Biennale of African Contemporary Art, Senegal (Dak’Art) as an off show. He is currently a Sculptor and a Professor of Sculpture at the Department of Fine Arts, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.