Tag Archives: Nigerian Contemporary Art

VICTOR EKPUK’s solo exhibition “These Memories” at Morton Fine Art

25 May

These Moments : A solo exhibition of mixed media artwork by VICTOR EKPUK

Friday, May 12th – May 31st, 2017

 

EXHIBITION LOCATION

Morton Fine Art (MFA)

1781 Florida Ave NW (at 18th & U Sts)

Washington, DC 20009

HOURS

Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm

Sunday 12pm-5pm

VICTOR EKPUK, Portrait Series #8, 2015, 48″x48″, acrylic on canvas

    VICTOR EKPUK, Head 4, 2015, 45″x48″, acyrlic on panel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About VICTOR EKPUK & These Moments 

What can one say about an artist like Victor Ekpuk? Graphically stunning, with a carefully crafted use of color, and evincing a commitment to the power of the line, Ekpuk’s work in These Moments applies Ekpuk’s enviable skill, theoretical grounding, and consistent engagement with what it means to be human in a more figurative approach. These Moments highlight thirteen works all grounded by the form, structure, and strength of the bold line’s arc through space. Inspired in part by a four-month residency in Nigeria, the country of his birth, Ekpuk was struck by how central the head was in daily life in Lagos. Ekpuk explains that he was “struck by people carrying things on their heads, metaphorically or otherwise.”Izetta Autumn Mobley, 2017

These Moments marks VICTOR EKPUK’s third solo exhibition at Morton Fine Art.  His artwork is included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution Nation Museum of African Art, Brooks Museum, Krannert Art Museum, US Department of State, Newark Museum, Arkansas Art Center, Fidelity Investments,  The World Bank, and University of Maryland University College Art Collection.

 

Click HERE to view available artwork by VICTOR EKPUK.

 

VICTOR EKPUK, At the Water’s Edge, 25″x19″, ink, graphite and pastel on paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Victor Ekpuk to paint 58-foot long mural inside Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

17 Feb
 
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Meditation on  Memory, Havana biennial, 2015. Image by Victor Ekpuk.

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is proud to host Victor Ekpuk, a Nigerian-born, Washington D.C.-based artist, from March 6 – 17, 2017. He will be painting Drawing Memory, a 58-foot long mural for the new African art galleries. His art is inspired by nsibidi, a sacred means of communication among male secret societies in southeastern Nigeria. Evolving out of the graphic and writing systems of nsibidi, Ekpuk’s art embraces a wider spectrum of meaning to communicate universal themes. “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,” explains Ekpuk.

He reimagines graphic symbols from diverse cultures to form a personal style of mark making that results in the interplay of art and writing. “Our centennial year continues with the reimagining of our African Gallery. Victor’s art will set the stage for the Brooks’ collection of the Art of Africa in a dynamic, thought-provoking way,” said Executive Director Emily Ballew Neff.

Museum visitors are invited to watch him create the mural that will be on the third floor of the museum across from the hands-on family art gallery–Inside Art. Visitors are also invited to a gallery talk featuring Ekpuk on Saturday, March 11 at 1 p.m., which is during the museum’s annual ChalkFest.

This mural begins the renovation of the African Gallery, which will culminate in Fall 2017 with a reinstallation organized by Dr. Christa Clarke, Senior African Curator at the Newark Museum. “We are thrilled to be reinstalling the African Gallery with Drawing Memory as the centerpiece. Victor has been an artist in residence at museums across the country and visitors have been inspired and deeply moved by watching him work,” said Chief Curator Marina Pacini. “Memphians too will enjoy the experience of seeing a work of art being made, especially one that is designed specifically for the Brooks and the city. The process is fascinating, which is why we will post time-lapse footage of his progress daily.”

Ekpuk’s artworks are in such collections as the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, Newark Museum, The World Bank, Hood Museum, Krannert Art Museum, United States Art in Embassies Art Collection and Fidelity Investment Art Collection.

Mission:Founded in 1916 and located at 1934 Poplar Ave. in historic Overton Park, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art  is home to Tennessee’s oldest and largest  major collection of world art.  More than 10,000 works make up the Brooks Museum’s permanent collection, including works from ancient Greece, Rome and the Americas; Renaissance masterpieces from Italy; English portraiture; American painting and decorative arts; contemporary art; and a survey of African art. The Brooks Museum enriches the lives of our diverse community through the museum’s expanding collection, varied exhibitions, and dynamic programs that reflect the art of world cultures from antiquity to the present. For more information about the Brooks and all other exhibitions and programs, call 901.544.6200 or visit www.brooksmuseum.org.

Art from everywhere. An experience for everyone.
For more information, contact: Karen Davis Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Office: 901.544.6219 Cell: 901.206.8810 Karen.Davis@brooksmuseum.org

“Self Portrait Benin Head” by OSI AUDU

3 Jan
 
OSI AUDU,
Self Portrait Benin Head, 2016, 36″x40″, pastel & graphite mounted on canvas
About Self Portrait Benin Head
The overall shape of this work was inspired by the abstract geometric possibilities in the traditional Benin sculpture of the Head of the Queen Mother.
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

VICTOR EKPUK “Home Coming” exhibition in Nigeria featured in The Nation

28 Apr

 

The Nation logo Nigeria
Ekpuk

Ekpuk: Home coming for a visual artist

by Edozie Udeze , April 24, 2016 at 12:00 am in Arts & Life

Victor Ekpuk,  a former Daily Times cartoonist,  left the shores of Nigeria about fifteen years ago.  He recently returned home on a residency to explore the artistic terrain.  He spoke to Edozie Udeze on his on-going exhibition, his love for residencies for artists, his artistic exploits in the United States of America and lots more.

Last year, Victor Ekpuk, a Nigerian artist based in New York, the United States of America, had a few months residency programme in Nigeria.  The idea was for him to be closer home to his country of origin and to acquire more new concepts to help his works.  This done, Ekpuk went to town, travelling familiar turfs and mingling with people.  In the end, he came out with what he termed Coming Home.

The exhibition which is on-going in Lagos at the moment was sponsored by Arthouse – the Space, noted for its commitment to the promotion of contemporary art in Nigeria.  At the opening of the exhibition, Ekpuk along with the whole clan of artists, art enthusiasts, patrons and stakeholders gathered to savour the depth and profundity of the ideas espoused by him.

In an interview, Ekpuk, a former cartoonists with the Daily Times of Nigeria (Plc), said, “well, when I came to Nigeria, I decided to open up my mind and let my experience of Nigeria inform what I did; taking photographs of me going round places, mingling, buying materials, chatting with people.  Yes, I wanted that interaction to inform the theme of the work that I do here in Nigeria.  Then I thought that my first solo exhibition in Nigeria after ten years should not be the work that I created in America and brought here.  I wanted to come here and be inspired by the environment, by the retinue of ideas and the people here in Nigeria.”

And that was exactly what he did; he went to rural and remote places to acquire materials for his work.  In the process, diverse ideas blossomed. “Part of it is the three-dimensional form that you see here today,” Ekpuk enthused.  “Yes, I’ve always wanted to do sculpture for a while now.  So I decided to use this residency to pursue that and do much more expanded volume of works.  Often when you come to residency it gives you the right opportunity to do what you may not normally do in your studios.  This was why I did that here,” he mused.

A stickler for colours and surrealism, Ekpuk did not shy away from the reasons why his focus on multi-colours has been his best forte over time.  “Bright colours are cheerful.  When I need to use them, I use them. Yet the ambience of the Nigerian set up also helped me to give these works the colours you see here today.  People dress very colourfully, the people are alive and vibrant and energetic.  All these gave rise to the bright colours represented in my paintings.

A bit away from landscapes, Ekpuk prefers to concentrate on abstracts as his best medium.  He said, “I do many abstracts works.  I don’t necessarily do landscapes.  I do the abstract so much that people may not recognize the works eventually.  That is one of the abstracts I do,” he said pointing to one of his works titled Head 6.  “Now, when you play with form, it helps you to be who you are.  That is what I am interested in.  I am interested in representing the form the way I love it.”

Having changed his perceptions from what it urged to be when he was in Daily Times, he explained however, that in life both people and things keep changing.”  Yes, it happens; people change.  This is why I now indulge in Nsibidi and Ulli art forms.  Yes, I like to draw to express things fully to show form and colour.  And the form offers me the opportunity to draw that way.  In fact, I like to reduce ideas just to form and this is why you see what you see here today.”

Trained at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, he confessed that OAU was the bedrock of his artistic life.  “OAU days was the bedrock for me to be what I am today.  It helps me to look into African ideas to have the kind of works I have here now.  It has helped me as a contemporary artist.  Even then the Daily Times days were the best days for me as an employed artist.  Today I am on my own, doing mostly studio works.  I enjoyed going to work everyday in Daily Times even when the salary was not much.  I loved what I did, using my works to deviate to politics.  I used my works to make fun of politicians.  And it was good to do that in those days of the military.”

Elucidating more, he said,” I brought my studio works into the cartoons I did.  I think Daily Times management then gave me freedom to do my work.  So it was not just to be a cartoonist as you know it, but to be a full artist.  My work in Daily Times started being abstract at a point too,” he reminisced.

In Pride of Origin, one of the series he did for the exhibition, he explained the motives behind it thus: “there, I am exploring the aesthetics of womanhood and their beauty.  Yes, Nigerian art is growing and you have to show the extent of this growth.  Fifteen years ago, there was no space like this, where you could exhibit your works.  Fifteen years ago, you had no auctions where Nigerian works could be sold for millions of Naira in an auction.  Fifteen years ago, you had practically no Nigerian art collectors.  All you had were foreigners or expatriates who came once in a while to patronize our works.

“Every weekend now you have exhibitions everywhere and all you do is choose the one you want to attend.  It wasn’t like this before.  All you had then were the French Cultural Centre and the Goethe Institute where exhibitions held once in a while.  Now, people buy works, Nigerians, I mean, buying works of Nigerian artists.  There are venues now.  Nigerian cultures are being espoused and Nigerians now consume their cultures.  It is no longer expatriates doing it for us,” he said.

He commended the Arthouse – The Space, for initiating the residency programme for artists.  “Yes,” he said, gesturing with his hands, “artists need residencies.  I was given a nice space to work.  I wasn’t here for family but to work.  This is what residencies mean.  It was a fantastic experience.  So when I came back, memories began to flow back to me.  When I went out to buy materials, I found myself in familiar terrains where I haggled, bantered and exchanged ideas with people.  Residencies should be able to do that to you so that you come out with the best works ever.”

Now, if the Arthouse Foundation can do this for the visual art, what of the other aspects of the art?  There have to be avenues like what obtains here now to prosper art generally in Nigeria.

Contact Morton Fine Art for available artwork by VICTOR EKPUK.

Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009

+001 202 628 2787, mortonfineart@gmail.com, http://www.mortonfineart.com

A peek into VICTOR EKPUK’s upcoming solo in Lagos in Nigerian Guardian

16 Feb

Nigerian Guardian newspaper takes a peek into VICTOR EKPUK’s upcoming solo exhibition in Lagos this April.

 

victor nigerian newspaper

 

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

11 Feb

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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

NNENNA OKORE in “The Contemporaries” at the Wheatbaker in London

21 Oct

 

The Nation logo Nigeria

Contemporaries holds at Wheatbaker

Contemporaries holds at Wheatbaker

As the global art world gathers in London next week for Frieze, tagged one of the “blingiest” art fairs in the world, The Contemporaries, an exhibition showcasing works by eleven cutting edge Nigerian contemporary artists, attracted much interest when it opened at the Wheatbaker boutique hotel, penultimate Monday. It will run till November 13 and is supported by Veuve Cliquot.

The exhibition of 21 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and mixed media works is a timely reflection of current trends in Nigeria and makes stirring and sometimes, tongue-in-cheek, comments about a nation expectant of change. The Wheatbaker’s fall exhibition The Contemporaries, showcases leading and emerging artists including Nnenna Okore, Duke Asidere, Uchay Joel Chima, Gerald Chukwuma, Raoul Olawale da Silva, Anthea Epelle,  Taiye Idahor , Chika Idu , Adeyinka Akingbade, Tony Nsofor,  and Onyeama Offoedu-Okeke.

A kaleidoscope of art that offers fresh perspectives on environment and development issues, feminism, unity, identity, history & tradition, and freedom of expression, draw on the artists’ unique heritage and perspectives. The exhibition is a robust exchange of ideas challenging its audience not to merely “think outside the box”, but to literally “stand on the box” and use it as platform to behold new vistas.

Sculptor and environmental activist, Uchay Joel Chima, whose skillfully crafted charcoal and paper relief addresses rampant environmental degradation and security challenges is juxtaposed  against the masterly paintings of children swimming under-water created by Chika Idu, who tried to escape the nightmare of traffic gridlocked streets by relying on water transportation, only to be confronted with the daily struggles of coastal communities affected by dredging, pollution, flooding and all forms of urban pressure.

Artist, historian and architect Onyema Offoedu-Okeke, presents Obstacles to Paradise on the theme of global migration showing the desperate fragmented surge of humanity across geometric paths of color and symbol, while master sculptor Gerald Chukwuma’s ironic multi-media work,CHOP, created out of an intricate pattern of plastic spoons on wooden slats, makes a strong comment on the social cancer of corruption and the growing gap between Africa’s well heeled elite and the increasingly disadvantaged poor; in the artist’s own words, there is “plenty food, plenty spoons and empty plates”.

“Art reflects society within a constantly evolving socio-political reality,” explains exhibition curator Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, who started documenting the impact of contemporary Nigerian art in 2011 in a five part documentary series, Red Hot Nigerian Creativity, she produced and co-directed. “Its exciting to see how the contemporary art scene is making a positive impact on our international identity and confidence as Nigerians, as Lagos fast becomes one of the most-talked-about emerging global art cities.”

The Contemporaries is offering visitors works which exhibit inspirational bold abstract human forms created by painters Raoul Olawale da Silva and Tony Nsofor, alongside the unusual biomorphic sculptures and installations created by internationally celebrated Nnenna Okore, in which twine, burlap,  and discarded newspapers touch on recycling, transformation and regeneration inspired by natural and man-made conditions within semi rural dwellings.