Tag Archives: African Artist

VICTOR EKPUK’s solo “These Moments” reviewed in The Washington Post

27 May

Washington Post ~ In the galleries: Powerful messages that require few words

By Mark Jenkins May 25, 2017

 Victor Ekpuk’s “Still I Rise,” acrylic on paper, on view in “These Moments,” through May 31 at Morton Fine Art. Some of the pieces in the D.C. artist’s show were inspired by his recent four-month residency in his homeland of Nigeria. (Victor Ekpuk/Courtesy Morton Fine Art)

Some of the pictures in Victor Ekpuk’s “These Moments,” like his earlier ones, feature ideograms derived from Nsibidi, an ancient African writing system. But the most forceful piece in the Morton Fine Art show contains just one symbol: a crosshairs bull’s eye over a faceless man’s heart. The figure in “Still I Rise” is on his knees with his hands up, one in a gesture of surrender, but the other clenched into a fist. The D.C. artist is thinking not of his native Nigeria, but of places such as Ferguson, Mo. 

Other pieces were inspired by Ekpuk’s recent four-month residency in the land of his birth, where he was struck by local idioms in which “head” refers to a person’s mind or mood. That resulted in several sculptural paintings, all titled “Head” plus a number, on shaped wood panels. Ekpuk has a strong graphic sense, and snipping his images to their essential outlines gives then even more punch.

In the nearly all-red “Head 2,” Nsibidi characters fill the face and neck, suggesting someone stuffed with thoughts. Yet there’s less text in these artworks than in previous groupings, and it’s sometimes pitted against elementary geometry, such as the horizontal stripes of “Head 7.” Executed mostly in black and red, with deep blue as an occasional counterpoint, these drawings and paintings are strikingly direct. “Still I Rise” is the only one that could double as a protest placard, but all are as immediate as street posters.

VICTOR EKPUK’s solo “Hip Sistas in Flux : The Visual – Lingual Braid” in Washington Post

16 May
May 15 at 1:13 PM
Victor Ekpuk

Writing and painting merge in the art of Victor Ekpuk, whose bold work employs symbols from Nsibidi, a West African ideographic system. This is a familiar aspect of the Nigeria-born Washingtonian’s style, but in Morton Fine Art’s “Hip Sistas in Flux: The Visual-Lingual Braid” the text represents both contemporary modes and cultural heritage. The glyphs decorate bodies as well as backgrounds, suggesting African-inspired fabrics but also jewelry and piercings, tattoos and scarification.
Ekpuk often uses a dense field of black-on-white symbols to frame a person or object that’s in color. Of these archetypal portraits, however, only “Asian Uboikpa (Hip Sista) Series #6” is rendered in black, and it’s garnished with red and blue dots at the center. The other paintings are even brighter, often outlining a woman’s head and torso in a lighter hue than the backdrop. Sista #11, for example, uses thickly applied yellow atop a green and blue matrix. The vivid colors suit the primal images; these female exemplars are nothing if not robust.

Victor Ekpuk — Hip Sistas in Flux: The Visual-Lingual Braid On view through May 21 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787. http://www.mortonfineart.com.