Widely known as the most expressive watercolorist in Nigeria, 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 Arts degree respectively. He graduated with honors and won several academic and national prizes including 1st prize winner at the Mobil Producing National Painting Competition.
Due to his outstanding excellence in art, a scholarship in honor of Sam Ovraiti was set up at the famous Auchi Polytechnic where he graduated with 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.
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 garnered a reputation as an artistic genius.
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 watercolor 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 experimentation and report on the activities that people do passionately. These activities honor 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 color 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.