Portraits of Power: The Paintings of Sam Onche - Center for the Arts and Humanities

Portraits of Power: The Paintings of Sam Onche

Sam Onche, a Colby senior and Studio Art major, has been making art for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Nigeria, he began by drawing, then transitioned to watercolor. When he arrived in the US back in 2015, staying with a host family in Northern California while attending high school, he began to create digital art.

Recently, his work has been inspired by Black people as a whole, with a particular focus on culture, music, and fashion. His goal is to ensure that Black people play a central role in the contemporary art scene, and to spread a sense of positivity and self-love. With each piece, he depicts a different emotion, and tells a different story.

The painting to the right, “Black and White Squares”, conveys Sam’s hope for humanity to live together as equals. The branches which surround the woman and the black and white squares represent Sam’s desire to bring together people of different races, “because as much as we might look different, we are all one.” The roses represent growth, gentleness, and Sam’s own desire to beautify the world around him.


The title of the next painting, “Heavy Head”, refers to the idiom “heavy is the head that wears the crown.” This piece speaks of a sense of responsibility, but also conveys the message that Black people are all born kings and queens, and can achieve anything they set their minds on. The final piece, “Descendent of Earth that Was”, reflects Sam’s interest in afrofuturism, a movement in art, literature, and other genres which features futuristic themes incorporating elements of black history and culture. “When I watch science fiction movies, they mostly depict white people,” Sam explained. “Imagining a future with black people is empowering.” The pattern in the background of the painting is an Ankara print, a vibrant style featured in African fabrics.

If you are interested in purchasing Sam’s art, ordering a commission, or purchasing his newly published art book, please visit his website at www.sogoarts.net. We look forward to seeing how this talented artist continues to beautify the world around him.

Article written by Ayla Fudala, Communications Coordinator