Plagiarism is a capital offence in the academia, not in the way of beheading the plagiarist or hanging him by the neck; but in a way of taking his credits away from the intellectual heist and attracting the public sphere to his past works for scrutiny. In the ongoing Venice Biennial, Damien Hirst’s golden head work titled “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” at Palazzo Grassi reflects deep Ife heritage. Hirst who latest exhibition costs him over £50 million.
Nigerian renowned artist, Victor Ehikhamenor, one of the artists representing Nigeria in Venice Biennial and presenting the Biography of the Forgotten, a large-scale work that combines abstract shapes with traditional sculpture, inspired by an investment in classical Benin art and the effect of colonialism on cultural heritage drew Nigerians attention on Instagram.
Ehikhamenor wrote on his handle:
The British are back for more from 1897 to 2017. The Oni of Ife must hear this. “Golden heads (Female)” by Damien Hirst currently part of his Venice show “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” at Palazzo Grassi. For the thousands of viewers seeing this for the first time, they won’t think Ife, they won’t think Nigeria. Their young ones will grow up to know this work as Damien Hirst’s. As time passes it will pass for a Damien Hirst regardless of his small print caption. The narrative will shift and the young Ife or Nigerian contemporary artist will someday be told by a long nose critic “Your work reminds me of Damien Hirst’s Golden Head”. We need more biographers for our forgotten. #ifesculptures #classicnigerianart #workbynigerianartist #ifenigeria #lestweforget #nigeria #abiographyoftheforgotten.
Even though Hirst work is clear plagiarism, not credited or referenced, he is yet to respond to Nigerians’ call on his exhibition which he parades as an original work.