Welcoming our new trustee Odili Donald Odita MFA ’90
The following message was sent to the Bennington Community on April 1, 2021 by President Laura Walker.
Dear Bennington Community,
It’s an honor to introduce you to Bennington College’s newest trustee, Odili Donald Odita MFA ’90.
Odita was born in Enugu, Nigeria and lives and works in Philadelphia. He is an abstract painter exploring color both in the figurative historical context and in the sociopolitical sense. In addition to general trustee duties, Odita will also serve on our education and community life committee, and we are so looking forward to his partnership and thought leadership as we chart Bennington’s future together.
“I am happy to see the completion of a circle in my invitation to be a member of the Board of Trustees at Bennington College,” said Odita. “It still feels like yesterday that I was able to attend Bennington as a Graduate student in Painting; to work as a Drawing teacher at the Bennington July Program; and later be given the opportunity to speak as a Visiting Artist at VAPA and CAPA. I hope to contribute all and more of what Bennington has given to me over these years.”
He has had several national and international exhibitions in museums and art institutions including; Every Day: Selections from the Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art (2019-2020); Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem
(Travelling, 2019-2020); Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art (2018); Prospect.4, The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp (2017-2018); Represent: 200 Years of African American Art, The Philadelphia Museum of Art (2015), among others.
On campus, Odita’s work, Cut (2016, Acrylic on 60 x 40 in. canvas), can be found on display in Newman Court inside the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) building. This work was also in the Vital Curiosity exhibition in 2017.
Odita has been the recipient of a Penny McCall Foundation grant in 1994, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant in 2001, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany grant in 2007. He has been commissioned to paint large-scale wall installations that include; The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (2020); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (2019); Newark Museum (2017); Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia (2016); the Nasher Museum of Art, Durham (2015); Ezra Stiles College at Yale University, New Haven (2015); the George C. Young Federal Building and Courthouse in Orlando, FL (2013); United States Mission to the United Nations in New York (2011); the New Orleans Museum of Art (2011); Give Me Shelter, the 52nd Venice Biennale exhibition, Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind, curated by Robert Storr.
Among the accolades he has received for his work, reporter Tom McGlynn of The Brooklyn Rail wrote in October that Odita “has brought a renewed sense of purpose to abstract painting.”
"Odita's creative, professional and sociopolitical expertise will be an immeasurable asset to our work," said Board Chair Nick Stephens '77. "We look forward to working with him as we continue to strengthen Bennington's position in higher education."