Posts Tagged ‘nigeria’

Artist of the moment……Nnamdi Okonkwo



Nnamdi Okonkwo is a Nigerian born sculptor renown for his work with the figure. Nnamdi Okonkwo was born in the eastern region of Nigeria in the year 1965.

The artist is very tall, 6 feet 9 inches, or just slightly taller than N.B.A. superstar Lebron James. Okonkwo played collegiate basketball at Brigham Young University- Hawaii. Whilst there he earned a B.F.A. in sculpture. The artist went on to earn a M.F.A. degree in sculpture from B.Y.U.- Provo.

In this clip an interview with Okonkwo and some of his artwork is shown:

The artist is based out of Fayetteville, Georgia.

Below a brief interview with Okonkwo that took place in 2012:

Price range information: Sorry none available.

Below a link to the website of the artist:

Okonkwo’s women remind me of two other sculptors of the female figure, Niki de Saint Phalle and her Nanna sculptures, and Elizabeth Catlett.



Artist of the moment…….Rom Isichei

Rom Isichei was born in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria in the year 1966. Isichei attended the Yaba College of Technology located in Lagos, Nigeria. He studied fine art with an emphasis on painting. After college he spent some time working for advertising agencies before striking out on his own and full time studio painting.

As an artist he usually sticks with painting the figure using a highly textured surface. Isichei works with oils and acrylics.

Here a brief interview with Rom Isichei:

Isichei is still based out of Lagos, Nigeria.

Price range information: Works range from $6,000 to $40,000.



Artist of the moment……Odili Odita


Odili Odita was born in Enugu,  Nigeria. For his collegiate education Donald Odita attended Bennington College before going onto graduate school and an M.F.A. from Ohio State University.

The artist is now based out of New York City and Philadelphia.

The artist has taken part in the Venice Biennial Exhibition.

Odita has also taught at the collegiate level and is currently teaching at the Tyler School of Art which is part of Temple University.  located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Price range information: Sorry none available. The artist works in oils and acrylics.

Here is a link to the website of Donald Odili Odita:

In this clip we view another large commission painted by Odita for the New Orleans Museum of Art which is titled Forever:




In this clip we view a wonderful time lapse video that shows a huge mural titled Heaven’s Gate :

What a wonderful use of color and shapes! His works seem to vibrate and have a sense of movement that reminds one of the Op Art movement and artists such as Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely.


Artist of the moment……..Yusuf Grillo



Yusuf Grillo was born in Lagos, Nigeria in the year 1934. Grillo just recently set a new auction record for himself with a sale at 80,000 euros at Bonham’s Auction House of London, England.

Grillo studied in Europe and Africa for his artistic education. The artist worked as a professor of art and printing at the Yaba College of Technology.

What I enjoy most about Grillo’s work is his use of color. I love the blue tinted figures and the way he takes control of the color of the clothes. Often you may view an African figure with a leopard or wild animal pattern that when wrapped around a human figure, can make the viewer concentrate on the clothes, rather than the figure.


Artist of the moment……Okpu Eze


Okpu Eze was born in what is now Abia State,Nigeria in the year 1932. Eze attended college in Africa and London, England. Eze was both an accomplished painter and sculptor.

Whilst in London, Eze became involved with the art crowd and as a result was made an associate member of the Royal Society of British Artists. Eze also participated in the art world as an art critic in his native country of Nigeria.

Okpu Eze passed away in 1995.

Price range information: Works range from $4,000 to $30,000.

Eze was head of the Society of Nigerian Artists for many years before his passing.





Artist of the moment…….Lamidi Fakeye



In addition to checking out the Shona art movement of Zimbabwe and the surrounding area, lets take a look at another ethnic group of people called the Yoruba. The Yoruba can be found in Nigeria and Benin, in the Western area of the continent of Africa.

Lamidi Fakeye was an internationally collected and possible the most famous artist in Africa during his lifetime. Lamidi Fakeye was born in Orangun,  Nigeria in the year 1928. Fakeye was renown for his sculptures and carvings of people and religious themes.

In 2010 a documentary was completed about Lamidi Fakeye. Here a quick trailer for the movie including many works of art:

Fakeye comes from a long line of artists. Like the Ashevak’s of the Inuit, the Wyeths of the United States, of the Nyanhongo’s of Zimbabwe, Fakeye’s family is renown for the artistic ability and Lamidi was a fifth generation artist.

The artist was apprenticed to a master artist named George Arowoogun.

Lamidi Fakeye passed away on Christmas Day of 2009.

Price range information: Sorry none available.

In this clip we view the artist at work and view some already completed carvings:

If you are in Washington D.C. be sure and visit the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and see the doors on the African Room which were carved by Lamidi Fakeye.

A very interesting note is that much of Fakeye’s work had to do with Christian art and religious themes. Fakeye’s work was in huge demand for church doors and panels. Fakeye had a great knowledge of this subject even though he himself was a Muslim.


Artist of the moment….Yinka Shonibare

Yinka Shonibare  was born in London, England in the year 1962. He moved to Lagos, Nigeria as a three old and lived in the city until the age of 16 years old. Shinobare returned to London for his education. At the age of 18 he experienced an illness titled transverse myelitis, his spinal cord suffered long term damage. As a result of his disability Shinobare can’t really make any art, and must rely on assistants to execute his ideas.

For his artistic education Shonibare attended the Byam Shaw College of Art. The artist went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of London.

The artist loves to explore ideas of class and race. In this regard I found his work very similar to Kara Walker. Both use many mediums to get their ideas of both race and class to the viewer.

Part of a foundation called SHAPE, that helps disabled people produce art.

Loves to work with bright colors and fabrics often found in African clothing.

Has been nominated for the Turner Prize.

Some works contain actual life size mannequins.

price range information: Sorry none available.

In this clip we visit the PBS series Art 21 for a brief bio about Yinka Shonibare.

And we visit the artist with a work titled Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle. Nelson was the leader of the British against the Spanish and French in this naval battle. The British with 27 ships defeated the French and Spanish who had 33 ships. At the end of the battle the British lost not one ship whilst the French and Spanish combo lost 22 ships.

And in this clip we visit a show dealing with global conflicts. You can see some of the mannequins on display and check out their awesome shadows they create on the walls. Also see his thoughts on the business of oil and big energy companies.

Artist of the moment…. El Anatsui….

The artist was born in Ghana in the year 1944. He is known for making wonderful works of art from recycled materials.

The artist installing a work at the Metropolitan Museum in 2008.

An interview done with the artist in 2011.

A clip showing the residency of the artist at Rice Gallery in 2011.


high price range: A work titled Harbinger made out of copper that sold for $722,000. Painting record is $60,953.

low price range:  Paintings can be found starting around $20,000.


The artist attended high school and college in Ghana, studying at the College of Art, University of Science and Technology in Kumasai, Ghana.  The artist has spent much of his working life in Nigeria moving there full time in 1975.  El Anatsui was hired as part of the faculty of the University of Nigeria at Nsukka.  The artist also has become associated with a group titled the Nsukka group. The group is mainly male, and is trying to revive the lost art of Uli. Uli is a name given to the style of art created by the Igbo people of Nigeria. The drawings and paintings are mainly linear, with very little depth or perspective. Most Uli artists of past generations were female.


In addition to working with recycled materials such as bottle tops,  the artist also works with clay and wood. In some works he actually makes carvings out of the wood and adds colors using a torch and sometimes paint. Later in his career the artist has taken to using metal to develop very large scultpures and installations.

Has been part of many museum exhibitions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of African Art (D.C.) ,the Venice Biennale, and the Center of Culture located in Spain. Anatsui gained international acclaim for his piece  in the 2007 Venice Biennale consisting of a large sculpture made of liquor bottle caps that was suspended on the outside of a building.

El Anatsui has a major show that opened in Toronto, Canada in 2010 titled “When I last wrote to you about Africa.”  This show is now at the Denver Art Musuem. It is included in the  general admission price.  As part of an art education program Colorado residents get free admittance into the first Saturday of each month. I plan to see this exhibition when I see Van Gogh at the Denver Art Museum which opens next week. The show for El Anatsui is a career retrospective so you can see how his style has changed and developed over the years.


I enjoy this artist’s work because its different. I would call him a major art force in Africa, on par the level of Ai WeiWei in China and the rest of Asia. Looking forward to seeing the artist’s exhibition in Denver as it will give me a better feel for the vastness of his art. He seems to work with an increasing amount assistants.  The El Anatsui exhibit at the Denver Art Museum will last until December 30th of 2012.