BENNINGTON — Odili Donald Odita, an abstract painter who received his master of fine arts from Bennington College in 1990, has joined the college’s board of trustees.
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 serve on the college’s education and community life committee.
“Odita’s creative, professional and sociopolitical expertise will be an immeasurable asset to our work,” said board chair Nick Stephens. “We look forward to working with him as we continue to strengthen Bennington’s position in higher education.”
“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,” Odita said. “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.”
Odita has had several national and international exhibitions in museums and art institutions, the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.
On campus, Odita’s work “Cut” can be found on display in Newman Court inside the Visual and Performing Arts 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.”