Tag Archives: Nigerian Artists

Video: VICTOR EKPUK Installation of Mural at North Carolina Museum of Art!

20 Jun

Washington DC based Nigerian artist VICTOR EKPUK recently completed a mural,  Divinity, for the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC. It was part of their newly opened African art galleries. You can see a time-lapse of him creating the mural above.

To see more available works by VICTOR EKPUK, please visit his page on our website HERE or contact the gallery.

Below, you can find an article written about his installation in the Indy Week:

Victor Ekpuk’s Divine Mural at the North Carolina Museum of Art Heralds New Life for Its African Galleries

Victor Ekpuk's new mural at NCMA was commissioned to augment the museum's expanded African art gallery.

Photo by Ben McKeown

Victor Ekpuk’s new mural at NCMA was commissioned to augment the museum’s expanded African art gallery.

Ekpuk’s work covers a thirty-by-eighteen-foot wall in one of NCMA’s new African art galleries, which have been expanded in the museum’s East Building to include works from across the continent spanning sixteen centuries. Opening to the public by the end of June, the galleries will almost double the number of African works on display, including never-before-seen textiles and works on paper in light-controlled areas.

El Anatsui‘s “Lines that Link Humanity,” a quilt-like sculpture of aluminum and copper wire, hangs on a wall adjacent to Ekpuk’s work. Valises opposite the mural contain objects including a Yoruba divination board and ornately carved totems. Approaching this commission with no preconceived composition, Ekpuk sat in the space for a day considering the neighboring works before he pulled out his iPad to begin sketching.

“It’s more about the aura of the objects that were pulling me as I got closer to some of them,” Ekpuk says. “Some of them I’m familiar with. Some of them not so much. The power and aura of the objects themselves created an atmosphere where I felt a sense of divinity.”

Rendered in white chalk on a black wall, Ekpuk’s composition forms an abstracted figure wrapping long arms around the perimeter. Hundreds of signs and symbols are densely packed within the arms, which are themselves filled with little circles. The large figure has a placid, stylized face at the top, and its distended arms terminate in huge hands that gather the chaos of the symbols together.

The mural has a presence and an intricate density comparable to that of Anatsui’s sculpture. Ekpuk counts Anatsui as an elder, and they’ve shown together in a 1994 group exhibit in Lagos. Ekpuk was one of five up-and-coming Nigerian artists paired with a trio of established African artists.

The Yoruba divination board, however, inspired the mural’s form. Ekpuk talks about how a diviner shakes objects in the tray-like board in order to answer questions or make predictions by interpreting their proximities. Instead of objects, Ekpuk fills his mural with symbols that draw upon nsibidi, a Nigerian system of ideograms. But the symbols are so crowded and intertwined that any attempted reading will be foiled. It’s hard to focus on one sign to see what it might refer to or depict. Instead, one’s vision darts around and takes in the overall density.

“I know it teases your brain to think that you could read it,” Ekpuk laughs, “but it’s not writing that tells you A or B or C. I never try to analyze them or say that they are any one particular thing. I open it up so that people can just see what they see in it.” Echoing this semiotic openness, Ekpuk deflects talk of any overt political message in the work. But neither is it apolitical.

“I walked into the space and, initially, I thought, Let’s not just do another social-political thing. At the same time, I’ve found that art is always politics. Sometimes I don’t think about politics, but once I start making art, this feeling starts coming out in the work. After I made this, I thought, Oh, I’m actually responding to this siege that I feel right now in the political climate in America.'”

Ekpuk describes the composition as a divine embrace, but the arms could be read as a crowded space of containment, like a refugee camp or border wall. The empty zeros might exude the banal homogeneity of power.

Ekpuk won’t say it’s a wrong reading, just that he sees something different. He’s inclined to cede the artist’s intention by making a willfully undetermined work. He’s leaning toward leaving the mural untitled so that a visitor can react to what it is rather than what it means. [Editor’s note: Ekpuk ultimately decided to title the work “Divinity.”]

“It forces you to abandon what you know and have an opportunity to be aware of something else,” he says. “Not everything has to be explained. If you want to bring what you know, then you’re just going to hit the wall. Perhaps it’s sort of a comfort work, rather than an angry work. It’s a reminder that, whether we believe in it or not, there is a divine source of our strength. It’s beyond us.”

This article appeared in print with the headline “Symbol Crash”

Advertisements

VICTOR EKPUK Featured on Konbini.com!!

7 Feb

Victor Ekpuk Perfectly Blends Writing And Painting Into Vibrant Art

Nigeria-born Washington-based contemporary artist, Victor Ekpuk, creates breathtakingly vibrant pieces which seamlessly merge the art of writing and painting.

His work, which began as an exploration of Nsibidi  – a centuries-old Nigerian system of writing that uses symbols instead of words or sounds – has now evolved into an exploration of the human condition.

ekpuk-big-fat-hen-lagos

Victor Ekpuk (Photo Tom Saarta )

Victor Ekpuk (Photo Mabeye Deme)

The aesthetic philosophy of Nsibidi, where simple signs convey complex ideas, led Ekpuk to further explore the art of drawing as a form of communication. It also led Ekpuk to invent his own hieroglyphic symbols.

Speaking about the themes of his work on his website, Ekpuk said:

“The subject matter of my work deals with the human condition explained through themes that are both universal and specific: family, gender, politics, culture and identity.”

Check out the rest of his work on his website and his Instagram.

ekpuk-dis-is-lagos-lagos-suites

(Photo Victor Ekpuk)

ekpuk-head-6

(Photo Victor Ekpuk)

ekpuk-head-3

(Photo Victor Ekpuk)

ekpuk-head-2

(Photo Victor Ekpuk)

ekpuk-returnee

(Photo Victor Ekpuk)

ekpuk-head-8

(Photo Victor Ekpuk)

OSI AUDU on his “Self Portrait” drawings in pastel and graphite

11 Feb

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I explore the light sheen of graphite, the matte, light absorbing quality of black pastel, the white of paper and canvas, as well as the visually affecting interactions of colors to investigate form and its evocative potential to suggest or hint at something about the shape of the head. I am interested in the dualism of form and void, and the ontological relation between the tangible and intangible, something and nothing, light and dark, body and mind, the dual nature of being – the self in portraits.

The construction of a sense of self is a very complex process, perhaps even more so in our increasingly global age, in which the boundaries between race, nationality, gender and sexuality are getting more and more blurred. I am interested in issues of self identity, and in concepts of the self rooted in my cultural experiences growing up in Nigeria, as well as global metaphysical, scientific, and social concepts of the self. There is a Yoruba thought that consciousness, referred to as the “head”, has both a physical dimension called the “outer head” and a non-physical one: “the inner head”. It is the visual implications of concepts like this that I find intriguing. The title, Self-Portrait, in my work, is more about the portrait of the intangible self, rather than a literal portrait of the artist.

Osi Audu, 2015

VICTOR EKPUK in “Artists of Nigeria” by Onyema Offoedu-Okeke

24 Jul

VICTOR EKPUK prominently featured in “Artists of Nigeria”, an anthology on Nigerian Art written by ONYEMA OFFOEDU-OKEKE. Please contact Morton Fine Art LLC for available works by this amazing internationally renowned artist!

mortonfineart@gmail.com

(202) 628-2787

http://www.mortonfineart.com

Artists of Nigeria Cover web

Ekpuk Artists of Nigeria p1 web

Ekpuk Artists of Nigeria p2 web

Ekpuk Artists of Nigeria p3 web

Ekpuk Artists of Nigeria p4 web

Ekpuk Artists of Nigeria p5 web

Ekpuk Artists of Nigeria p6 web

Ekpuk Artists of Nigeria p7 web

Ekpuk Artists of Nigeria p8 web

VICTOR EKPUK’s “Auto-Graphics” exhibition at Krannert Art Museum featured in Contemporary And

16 Jan

contemporary and logo

 

composition 1Victor Ekpuk Composition No. 1 (detail), 2009 Graphite and pastel on paper Courtesy of the artist and Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African Art © Victor Ekpuk

24 January 2014 – 27 July 2014 /

Auto-Graphics: Recent Drawings by Victor Ekpuk

Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, Champaign, IL, United States

Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion (KAM) presents  Auto-Graphics: Recent Drawings by Victor Ekpuk from January 24 through July 27, 2014. The artist will be present at the exhibition opening public reception, which will be held on Thursday, January 23 from 6–7 pm, and will return to KAM on March 13 to give a gallery conversation.

Nigerian-born artist Victor Ekpuk is best known for his improvisational use of nsibidi, a form of ideographic writing associated with the powerful Ekpe men’s association of southeastern Nigeria. As a student of fine arts at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife in the mid-1980s, Ekpuk worked in a pedagogical environment informed by onaism, a Yorùbá aesthetic philosophy that urged students to explore the logics of pattern and design in indigenous African art forms. Ekpuk’s early fascination with nsibidi during these years—its economy of line and encoded meanings—led to his broader explorations of drawing as writing, and to the invention of his own fluid letterforms. As a mature artist, Ekpuk has so internalized the rhythm and contours of his “script” that it flows from his hand like the outpouring of a personal archive.

In recent years, Ekpuk’s approach to mark making has come to flourish through his investigations of scale, motion, surface, and form. Auto-Graphics features selections from several of Ekpuk’s new bodies of work, including collage, digital prints, and his supersized drawings—bold, vibrant, yet restrained compositions in which nsibidi signs are cropped, abstracted, and glided beyond the frame through the illusion of magnification. Their dense grounds of micro-script and bristling opaque forms contrast with the more figural works on view. Ekpuk’s compositions are not tentative or ambivalent, and are drawn with no erasure. Like nsibidi, which communicates through both visual mark and gesture, Ekpuk’s immersive drawings seem to be choreographed with the full force of his body. This will become readily evident to visitors when, upon entering the museum, they are greeted by one of Ekpuk’s works drawn directly onto the gallery wall—an ample surface on which to explore the infinite potential and ephemeral fate of the hand-drawn line.

Victor Ekpuk has held numerous residencies at art institutes and universities throughout the US and in Nigeria, the Netherlands, and France. He currently lives and works in Washington D.C.

The exhibition is curated by Allyson Purpura and sponsored in part by the Lorado Taft Lectureship on Art Fund/College of Fine + Applied Arts and Krannert Art Museum and partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

 

Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

College of Fine and Applied Arts

500 E. Peabody Drive | Champaign, IL 61820

p. 217 333 1861 | f. 217 333 0883 | kam.illinois.edu

 

VICTOR EKPUK’s solo exhibition “Reminiscences and Current Musings” opens September 13, 2013 at Morton Fine Art

13 Aug

Save the date!

September 13th – October 8th, 2013: “Reminiscences and Current Musings” a solo exhibition by VICTOR EKPUK, featuring a rare collection of his artwork from 1996-2013.

Artist talk: Saturday, September 28th from 4pm-6pm

Featured:  Victor Ekpuk’s “Vigilante 2”

Vigilante 2 web

 

 

Artwork by Victor Ekpuk- Live painting in Amsterdam

15 May

Artwork by Victor Ekpuk, made during the presentation of ZAM Africa Magazine in 2009.