Monday, June 22, 2009

Telling our own story - NNENNA OKORE - “OF EARTH... BARKS AND TOPOGRAPHY”

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Nnenna Okore Holds First Major Exhibition In Nigeria
Nnenna Okore, the talented and internationally acclaimed sculptor and installation artist, returns to Nigeria to hold her first major art exhibition beginning June 20th, 4pm, at the Goethe Institut in Lagos. After a successful series of exhibitions at galleries in the US and the UK, the Assistant Professor of Art at North Park University, Chicago will bring her vibrant and constructive approach to sculptural and installation art to a keen Nigerian art audience. The exhibition will be opened by her former professor and mentor at the University of Nsukka and famed art sculptor in his own right El Anatsui.
Nnenna often uses materials found in urban environments. Her artworks reflect the way that natural and man-made materials evolve, decay and transform, while other pieces can take on the character and flowing shape of traditional woven cloths or elements of nature. She has received several awards and residencies worldwide, and has been exhibited in several prestigious galleries and museums including the Museum of Art and Design, New York and the October Gallery, London. The German Cultural center, the Goethe Institut are her hosts for this show presented by Kachifo Limited, publishers of Farafina Books. The show runs at the Goethe Institut from June 20th until July 10th. Learn more about this artist by logging on to www.nnennaokore.com, or by contacting the organisers at info@kachifo.com.
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Artist's Profile
Nnenna Okore is an Assistant Professor of Art at North Park University. She received her B.A degree in Painting from the University of Nigeria (First Class Honors) in 1999, and an M.A and M.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of Iowa in 2004 and 2005. She has received several awards and residencies worldwide, and been shown in numerous prestigious galleries and museums within and outside the United States. She currently has work on display at Sakshi Gallery, India. Her two solo outings will open in June and July at the Goethe Institut, Lagos, and the Chicago Cultural center, Chicago respectively. She will also exhibit in a year long exhibition, Trash Menagerie, curated by Janey Winchell at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. The show runs from June 20, 2009-June, 2010.
Artist Statement
Much of my inspiration stems from my childhood years at Nsukka, a small university town in south-eastern Nigeria. As a child, I was fascinated by the social, natural, and man-made conditions in rural dwellings around the University campus. Embedded within its landscape were evocative imageries captured within its rocky slopes, and architectural structures. I came across several stunning traditional art and architectural forms, such as, roofed shrines characterized by huge mounds of sand under a thatched structure, and yam barns and fences that traced the borders of people’s compounds. I was also drawn to simple sights of bare-footed children appropriating toys and hunting tools from scrap objects.
Other compelling views that appealed to my sensibilities were the carefully arranged wares borne on the heads of street peddlers, and household items in the market place lined up on the termite eaten tables and pews, plant tubers assembled in huge piles as well as sacks of grain stacked six to eight feet high and four to ten feet wide. Of course, the recycled cardboard boxes, newspapers and cement paper bags that served as insulation, bed padding, gift-wraps, mats, table coverings, and food wrappings within the market environment, were alluring to behold.
Of all the aspects of rural life that inspired me, the use of discarded objects and found materials in coping with poor economic conditions, had the most profound impact on me. It is reflected in the visual content and imagery of my works, which by virtue of these influences, celebrate the transformation of discarded materials into cultural objects, forms, and spaces, and bring a critical focus to bear on the consumption and recycling cultures in parts of Nigeria. My materials include newspapers, wax, cloth, rope, clay and sticks and I apply various repetitive and labor-intensive techniques, like weaving, twisting, sewing, dyeing, waxing and rolling, which were learned by watching villagers perform everyday tasks. These processes accentuate colors, textures and other visceral qualities of my sculptures.
Currently, I am invested in forms that explore, or are inspired by intimate spaces, shelters, architectural and natural environments, and ideas related to textures, colors, qualities and social values associated with African fabrics, using multiples and repetitive processes.
Recent Exhibitions
Chance Encounters, Group show, (curated by Bisi Silva, CCA, Lagos, Nigeria), Sakshi Gallery, India, April 2009.
Transvangarde, October Gallery,
London. 22 April - 16 May, 2009
Upcoming Exhibitions
Of Earth....Barks and Topography, Goethe Institut, Lagos, Nigeria, June 2009.
Trash Menagerie,
Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, June 20, 2009-June 2010.
Twisted Ambience,
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, July 11-October 04, 2009.
Paper to Pulp, HC Center for the Arts,
Ellicott City, MD, July 2009.
Inaugural Show, Bekris gallery, CA, October, 2009.
Solo Show,
NEIU Art Gallery, Northerastern Illinois University, February, 2010.
Solo Show, Bekris Gallery,
San Francisco, CA, April-May, 2010.
Solo Show,
Noyes Art Center, Evanston, September, 2010.
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For more information about Nnenna Okore, go to www.nnennaokore.com or contact Kachifo Limited on 0802-086-3673

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10 comments:

Ms. SpicyTee said...

I'm happy to hod the firtst position today...

Though I'm not a fan of sculptors but this is a great read and gave me a lot of insight about it. Wish her successful exhibition.

How are you doing Standtall? Hope great? Thx for the love all the time.

bArOquE said...

sounds like something that would have been fun to be at...the other game surely would have been me guessgin to myself who was a blogger i knew & not...hehehe

hope you're still standing tall? *wink* & Mr nko?

chayoma said...

i love sculptures....
hoping she has a wonderful exhibition.

Emilia said...

those are some hardcore credentials she's got going on ...Would have loved to see her show

katztales said...

this looks interesting, as does your piece with Sokari last week. We have a lot of dress code fanatics here in Malaysia. Funnily enough it's always men going on and on about how women should cover up from head to toe because men are these uncontrollable bags of hormones who are driven into rape by the sight of a naked elbow or ankle.

It never occurs to these boys that maybe they should be locked up at home unless they are under the supervision of a responsible woman!

BTW put up your award today. Au and Target say Meow and are looking smugger than ever :-)

seye said...

Can't blogger put something like the facebook's LIKE feature? I'd have liked to LIKE this. lol

Geebee said...

Nigerian women never cease to amze me by what they do and how much they are representing this country in the outside world. Nnena is definitely a role model that has paid her dues and she deserves as much laudable applause as she's getting here and beyond.

Hey StandTall, how have you been? I'm back from my wanderings o. lol

Vera Ezimora said...

Babe, I'm unable to add your blog to my blogroll. Keeps saying it can't detect a feed.

Hmmm

Parakeet said...

Wow well done. Never heard of her but its nice to know we have someone talented like that. I hope the event is a success.

StandTall-The Activist said...

I must got for her exhibition and I may have a sign that says " Standtall in da house" may be that will help me meet with other bloggers.

@ Vera: I don't know what might be wrong. Try http://genderandme@blogspot.com

My Passion, my focus, the change that I want to see in the world - is my propellent factor.

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