Tag Archives: National Museum of African Art

Morton Fine Art congratulates artist OSI AUDU as recipient of a prestigious and highly competitive grant from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation

28 Aug

For over a decade now, through highly acclaimed exhibitions of his work, OSI AUDU has maintained a strong professional presence in the United States, Great Britain, Korea, Japan, Italy, Germany, Austria and Africa.
His work has been exhibited at, and collected by public institutions including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, The Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey, USA, The British Museum and the Horniman Museum both in London, and the Wellcome Trust Gallery in Euston London. His work has also been exhibited at the Tobu Museum and Setagaya Museum both in Japan, the Liverpool Museum in Great Britain, The Science Museum London; and acquired for corporate collections including Sony Classical New York, and the Schmidt Bank in Germany.
He received a B.A. (Fine Art) degree with First Class Honors from the University of Ife in Nigeria, and an M.F.A. degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA.
He now lives and works in New York.
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc. was established in 1985 for the sole purpose of providing financial assistance to individual working visual artists of established ability through the generosity of the late Lee Krasner, one of the leading abstract expressionist painters and the widow of Jackson Pollock.
The Foundation is pleased to report that since its inception in 1985, it has awarded over 4,400 grants totaling over 71 million dollars to artists in 77 countries.

VICTOR EKPUK’s drawing on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

19 Aug

VICTOR EKPUK’s drawing “Slave Narratives” is now on view at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution.


"Slave Narratives", curator of contemporary art Karen Milbourne, artist Victor Ekpuk and museum Director Dr Johnnetta Cole at the National Museum of African Art, DC

“Slave Narratives”, curator of contemporary art Karen Milbourne, artist Victor Ekpuk, and museum Director Dr Johnnetta Cole at the National Museum of African Art, DC.  Image courtesy of the artist.


950 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20560


10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily except December 25.

Admission is free.



Nigerian artist VICTOR EKPUK’s solo “Reminiscences & Current Muses” opens at Morton Fine Art in DC

13 Sep
A solo exhibition of artwork by VICTOR EKPUK, featuring a rare collection of his artwork from 1996-2013
September 13th, 2013 – October 8th, 2013
Friday, September 13th, 6-8pm
The artist will be in attendance.
Saturday, September 28th, 4-6pm
Victor Ekpuk, Vigilante 2, 2012, ink and collage on paper, 48"x36"

Victor Ekpuk, Vigilante 2, 2012, ink and collage on paper, 48″x36″

Morton Fine Art (MFA)
1781 Florida Ave NW (at 18th & U Sts)
Washington, DC 20009
Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm
Select excerpts from the essay of Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, PhD, 
Curator of African Art, The Hood Museum of Art on Victor Ekpuk’s Reminiscences & Current Musings: 
 “Victor Ekpuk’s creative process involves moments of quietude in which he digs studiously into his memory bank for visual clarity. The quiet search for acuity, very revealing of the artist’s interest in human experiences, frames Reminiscences and Recent Musings. In a way, this solo effort is a retrospective because it draws from several bodies of work produced by the artist between 1996 and 2013. These 20 works represent the artist’s meditations on his social experiences, drawing from Nigeria and the United States, his country of birth and residency respectively, and as with most contemporary artists, other worlds that he has experienced in the course of several international artists residencies in the last few years.
…Using invented scripts and imageries that evolved from the cryptic nsibidi writing system that is autochthonous to eastern Nigeria, Ekpuk translates the human experience both transparently and symbolically. It is no secret that the nsibidi ideographic forms now function as a conceptual backdrop for him. Earlier on, he drew extensively from the writing system, as is evident in the paintings: The Three Wise Men (triptych, acrylic on panel, 1996), Heaven’s Gate (acrylic on prayer board, 2000), and Idaresit (acrylic on canvas, 2004). At that point, Ekpuk was more interested in aesthetic memory, the idea that one can subject a common cultural wellspring to formal analysis in order to create new aesthetic possibilities. Except one that has some familiarity with the nsibidi form, the three works are open to multiple interpretations. They present what the art historian Chike Aniakor calls the “veiling of message [as being] the fortress of the artistic impulse.”[i] The works may have specific messages, but they are not directly accessible and require the artist’s intervention in order to unlock them.
Ekpuk has however become adept at inventing his own scripts, which may appear weighty in appearance, but are unburdened with fixed meaning. Unlike the nsibidi ideograms, Ekpuk’s inventions bear no deep secrets. Instead, they are outlets through which he articulates his perception of the world around him. In the artist’s oeuvre, his scripts recur in the form of dots, scrawls, contrived signs that are sometimes borrowed from pop culture, and few nsibidi signs which he employs more for their aesthetic value than for their significance. In 2006, Ekpuk had shifted his interest to drawing as his main channel of expression at the expense of painting in order to explore more rigorously the aesthetics of graphic signs as abstract forms. Altogether his invented scripts provide insights into a world of the artist’s making, a world that straddles the experienced and the imagined.
…In all, the works are several bodies of interconnected ideas that fit perfectly into an overarching artistic vision, from nearly two decades. They represent Ekpuk’s attempt to translate his experiences and the larger human experience, bearing the burden of contemplation, history, and contemporaneity.”
Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, PhD
Curator of African Art,
The Hood Museum of Art,
Dartmouth College, New Hampshire

[i] Chika Aniakor, “AKA: The Conquests of An Artistic Vision,” AKA 89 [4thannual exhibition catalogue] (Enugu: AKA, 1989), 8.
Victor Ekpuk, Idaresit (Joyful Heart), 2004, acrylic on canvas, 48"x24"

Victor Ekpuk, Idaresit (Joyful Heart), 2004, acrylic on canvas, 48″x24″

VICTOR EKPUK’s art began as an exploration of
nsibidi “traditional” graphics and writing systems in Nigeria, and has since evolved to embrace a wider spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses.  His artwork is in the permanent collection of Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, Newark Museum, The World Bank, and University of Maryland University College Art.
The central theme of Ekpuk’s work is the exploration of relationships, challenges, and responses to changes that characterize the contemporary human condition.  Of particular interest to his oevre is nsibidi, an indigenous African system of writing that employs graphic signs and codes to convey concepts. Inspired by these ancient writings, the forms in his works are reduced to a basic essence resulting in new symbols or codes in script-like drawings.

Get to know Nigerian-born artist OSI AUDU

22 Jan
“The dualism of the tangible and intangible is an area of focus in my work…I find scientific, philosophical, and cultural concepts about the nature of consciousness, and the mind/body relation very fascinating. For example, the Yoruba people of Western Nigeria, believe that consciousness, referred to as the head, has both a physical dimension called the outer head, and a spiritual one, the inner head, and that it originates from a place referred to as eternity. It is the visual implications of some of these concepts that I explore in my work.

In my diptych paintings made with acrylic, wool, and graphite on canvas, I use abstract geometric forms that evoke the human head to present the sheer beauty of color and texture in a way that can be viscerally felt, as well as responded to psycho-physiologically by the eyes; and invite viewers to consider the process of visual perception:

If the viewer stares fixedly at the center of the painted panel on the left for about ten seconds, and then transfers gaze to the center of the drawn panel on the right, an after-image will appear in the complementary colors.

OSI AUDU, Figure I_Outer and Inner Self, Green and Blue, 2012, acrylic,wool and graphite on canvas, Diptych, each panel 24x24 ins

OSI AUDU, Figure I_Outer and Inner Self, Green and Blue, 2012, acrylic,wool and graphite on canvas, Diptych, each panel 24×24 ins


My graphite and black pastel drawings titled self-portrait and sequentially numbered, in which I explore the chromatic, light absorbing and reflecting qualities of both mediums, are more about the portrait of the self – that intangible essence of being, and the head as a container of memory, dreams, ideas, and aspirations. ”

-Osi Audu

 OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait I, 2012, graphite and pastel on paper, 23 x 30 ins

OSI AUDU, Self-Portrait I, 2012, graphite and pastel on paper, 23 x 30 ins


Newark Museum

The British Museum

The Horniman Museum

The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA

Wellcome Trust London

National Gallery, Lagos

Nigerian High Commission, London

Iwalewa-Haus, Universitat Bayreuth, Germany

Schmidtbank, Bayreuth, Germany

Addax and Oryx Group, Switzerland

Swiss Embassy, Lagos