Profile of An Icon, Demas Nwoko, OON

Born on 20th December 1935 at Idumuje Ugboko in Aniocha north local Government Area of Delta state, to obi Nwoko II, who designed an architectural monument as his palace, among other building activities which aroused his interest in architecture from an early age. Studied fine arts at the Nigerian college of arts, science and technology, Zaria from 1957-1961. Pursued private studies in creative architecture from 1956 in Ibadan, Nigeria. Studied theatre architecture and design for the stage (scenography) at centre Francais Du theatre. Also Fresco painting and architectural decoration at the Ecole des beaux-art both in Paris, France from 1961-78.

Became a pioneer staff of the school of drama, university of Ibadan, Nigeria, teaching designs, directing and applied aesthetics from 1963-78. Won a Rockefeller grant in 1964 to study the theatre of Africa, Asia, China, Japan, Canada and the United States of America.

Pursued privately the study of the creative architecture of the world in 1956 with great interest in the traditional architecture of Africa, the Arab world and the Far East.

Withdrew service from the University of Ibadan in 1978 to establish a building component and materials development centre in his birthplace, Idumuje Ugboko. Where all theatre fittings for the Benin cultural centre were also manufactured.

These include structural steel, woodworks, theatre seats and some light fittings. In 1978, the new cultural studios Ibadan was converted from the private studio into a training centre for the performing arts. The facilities in the studio include- an amphitheatre, dance studio, music studio and design studio. There is also a cinematographic film laboratory.

At the African designs development centre, Idumuje Ugboko, founded in 2005, Nwoko hopes to convert many artists and technologists into entrepreneurs, who will produce culturally and industrially viable equipments and goods.

A writer and author of several books, a politician, contested for presidency of Nigeria under the social democratic party (SDP) “I was the last to compete with MKO Abiola for president of Nigeria before I was zoned out to south-south for the south-west candidate in the SDP”- Demas Nwoko.

“Wole Soyinka and I are best of friends, we were the first activist in this country” – Demas Nwoko
Demas Nwoko’s house is an acknowledged master piece in the delta state tourism books, an extra- ordinary architectural innovation, creative aesthetics and large collection of arts, artifacts and handmade furniture and accessories.

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