News at Princeton

Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Web Stories

Video: Odita discusses his mural, 'Up and Away'


To view the multimedia features on this page, you will need to download the latest version of Flash Player and/or enable JavaScript.


Artist Odili Donald Odita discusses the many-hued mural commissioned for Butler College as part of Princeton’s public art initiative. Read more.


Video Closed Captions

Odili Donald Odita:
I basically, in general, responded to the building as a whole, particularly the exterior

Odili Donald Odita:
of the building, confronting the orange-ness of the brick, and the horizontality of the

Odili Donald Odita:
pattern in the exterior of the building. The amphitheater, as well, that's a particular

Odili Donald Odita:
structure that I included in my design. Up here, in fact, the way that I have the pattern end,

Odili Donald Odita:
open, end and begin again in that particular spot.

Odili Donald Odita:
I do the drawings by hand. I like that directness. I like that approach. It becomes a kind of

Odili Donald Odita:
painterly exercise, in a way, just going through this tactile, tangible process of

Odili Donald Odita:
mapping the design on the wall.

Odili Donald Odita:
I love the power of design, pattern and symbol in traditional African art, and I learn from

Odili Donald Odita:
it quite a lot -- the sense of invention, drawing, sense of space, material.

Odili Donald Odita:
You can do so many things with color and create so many different situations, and I wanted

Odili Donald Odita:
to create ultimately a positive situation here with the colors. I didn't want to have

Odili Donald Odita:
colors that could be ultimately cloudy or depressive. I wanted thought-provoking colors,

Odili Donald Odita:
interesting colors, interesting and dynamic situations, environmental situations.

Odili Donald Odita:
When I make these kinds of installations, it seems often enough that I deal with each wall as

Odili Donald Odita:
a separate event, and a circumstance or situation based on how it exists, and then how it exists

Odili Donald Odita:
with the space adjacent to it. The first wall was sort of like just the beginning of, let's

Odili Donald Odita:
say, a concert, where you have the big, loud drums and the instruments tuning, and all

Odili Donald Odita:
that's just [claps], just this "CHH CHH CHH," just this beginning. I call it "Wall One," which

Odili Donald Odita:
is the entry wall at the door, and "Wall Two," which is the wall adjacent to it -- how they

Odili Donald Odita:
meet at the corner and they fan out in this kind of diagonal explosion. They just explode outward.

Odili Donald Odita:
I was thinking also of people traveling through the space -- of the particular type of person

Odili Donald Odita:
that's going to be traveling through the space: the students. And, that, what are they going to be doing here?

Odili Donald Odita:
They're going to be studying, they're going to be communicating, having a community here,

Odili Donald Odita:
living here. So I was thinking about that sort of environment, too. What kind of color,

Odili Donald Odita:
coloration, design would be conducive to that kind of activity? Work that is in public space,

Odili Donald Odita:
like this -- I think people are able to come to it -- and to painting -- in a much more open,

Odili Donald Odita:
generous, and quicker way. It's immediate. It's the body that feels the painting.

Back To Top