Udechukwu shows Uli to Li: A Natural Synthesis at Tiwani Contemporary gallery

Posted: July 13, 2012 in arts/culture

London-based and partly Nigerian-owned art gallery, the Tiwani Contemporary, Wednesday, opened the solo exhibition of works by Nigerian contemporary artist, Obiora Udechukwu’s who presents a selection of  his drawings and paintings titled; Uli to Li: A Natural Synthesis.

Udechukwu, known for his experimentation with the traditional Igbo Uli design motifs, Udechukwu is one of the country’s most influential contemporary artists.

This exhibition presents work from the 1980s in which Udechukwu’s interest in Chinese calligraphy led to new stylistic developments in his art. Some of Obiora Udechukwu’s best known pen-and-ink drawings were created during this decade. The dramatisation of spatial tensions, the expressive quality of line and the bold pictorial elements became stylisticpoints of departure from earlier works.

During this period Udechukwu also experimented with colour, turning to watercolour as his medium of choice. In his paintings, he explores colour arrangements, shapes and textures which produce a soft, calligraphic effect resulting in a strong and compelling harmony.

Despite a reputation for lyricism in his work, Udechukwu’s art also reveals a strong socio- political dimension. His work over the years has confronted the evils of poverty, dictatorship and corruption in Nigeria’s post-oil boom era.

Born in Onitsha in 1946, Udechukwu studied for one year at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria before serving in the Biafran War. He completed his art education at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, receiving his bachelor’s degree in fine art in 1972 and his masters in 1977.

His work exhibited extensively locally and internationally is to be found in the permanent collections of the National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C.; the National Gallery of Art, Lagos; Iwalewa-Haus, University Bayreuth and the Museum for Volkerkunde, Frankfurt.

Udechukwu is a published poet, winning the ANA/ Cadbury Poetry Prize for his book, What the Madman Said in 1990. He is currently Dana Professor of Art and Art History at St Lawrence University, New York.

The exhibition which opened Wednesday, July 11 will run till Thursday, July 26.

According to the gallery’s directors; Ayo Adeyinka, Jude Cesar and Maria Varnava, Tiwani Contemporary, London, focuses principally on contemporary artists from Nigeria, from across Africa and its Diaspora as well from the Global South.

The gallery’s aim is to present the works of emerging and established artists to a London institutional, corporate and private collector base. In addition to its commercial activities, Tiwani Contemporary intends to present a dynamic and innovative public programme that will include publications, talks, panel discussions, curated projects and events within the gallery space as well as in collaboration with other partners in London and across the United Kingdom.


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