Contemporary Artists of Nigeria
Home to numerous ethnic groups each with its own cultural capital and traditions, Nigeria has a long history of rich visual arts. Towards the fag end of their colonization by the British, Nigerian artists channelized their rebellion by incorporating the elements of Africa into their art. This awareness and sensitivity to their culture was only heightened during the 1980s when after a war the Nigerian artists explored numerous ways of incorporating traditional symbols of pride and nationalism into their works. This effectively laid the foundation for contemporary art in Nigeria.
The growing riches and strengthening economy of the country is prompting a hoard of investors, patrons, buyers, and grants to initiate a trade that will only see better days soon. We will be talking here about some of the top contemporary Nigerian artists who the wealthy Nigerians are simply dying to acquire!
With a rich background and a formal training in painting, tailoring, and fashion design, Victoria Udondian has a desperate love for textiles. This love for textiles is exhibited by the work she has done with fabrics like burlap sack and some intriguing second hand clothing. Brooding on the theme of cultural contamination and drawing inspiration from the continuing interaction between the contemporary and traditional values, she literally weaves the textiles together to create stunning masterpieces.
With a love for animation and an intent to re-animate the African cartoons Adamu Waziri, an animator has unleashed his creativity in this arena, rife with opportunities. Africa has often been portrayed as nothing but primitive and just about jungles, Waziri with his cartoons has taken it upon himself to show Africa in a positive light.
To create an event out of the mundane, is the specialty of this Nigerian artist – Wuru-Natasha Ogunji. One of her works included three performers braided together by their own hair, the idea was to demonstrate the bond that women form through their hair, and another one of her works masked some women and then walk on the streets dragging the water jugs tied to their legs.
Harsh messages wrapped up in soft and fragile works is the unique quality of works by Marcia Kure. Born in Kano, Kure lives and works in the U.S. The themes that tie her works together are motherhood, pop culture, and violence against women.
Nkanga born in Kano now lives and works out of Europe. Delving in a variety of media ranging from photography, performance, and painting, her works tend to have a narrative quality to them. The narratives woven through her works have a tendency to provoke a speculative conversations from the audiences.
Living and working in U.S. Okore draws her inspiration from her childhood and the numerous human dwellings that stood against the backdrop of nature right in front of her. She is known to take found objects and transform them into masterpieces with gorgeous textures and colors.
She uses media like photography, collage, and performance to question the manner in which we envision our everyday environment. One of her works involves her taking close-up pictures of trees so they resemble the intimate creases and folds of a human skin and another where she has made a collage to look like layers of old advertisement posters that are easily found on Nigeria’s streets.
Nigerian-British photographer Karl Ohiri lives and works in the U.K. and his photographic work delves deep in the themes of identity & cultural identity. There is a running theme where his Finnish wife poses for him the traditional Nigerian attire or dramatized scenes of an everyday African life.
As an artist Okereke has explored many forms of art including poetry, performance, and painting, but is best known for his exceptional work in photography. There is an overlap of ordinary and the extraordinary in his work. In his portrayal of poverty and violence lies a strong socio-political aspect.