Return of Ekpuk, a decade after
After a four-month residency with Arthouse Foundation, in Lagos, last year, U.S-based artist, Victor Ekpuk goes for a solo art exhibition. The much-awaited exhibition titled Coming Home, which opens from April 9 ending 30, 2016 at Renault Showroom, Victoria Island, Lagos has been described as Ekpuk’s first major solo show in over a decade.
The exhibition, according to the organisers, features the artist’s “newest project”, which affords him to implore “Lagos as inspiration.” Among the new features of the works is Ekpuk’s experimentation with three-dimensional forms, of which is noted as “a departure from his normative practice.” Such forms include depicting the “human head as a symbol for the physical and psychological experiences of daily life in Lagos.”
After his residency, Ekpuk has been having a gradual and steady build-up towards a solo exhibition. He had his Open Studio almost immediately, with young artists,in Lagos; Artist Talk at the Kia Showroom, a forum that availed professionals and other art enthusiasts an interaction with him; and few weeks ago, Roundtable Discussion at the Goethe Institute, with the art community in Lagos. The Roundtable generated reconnection with “unique bodies of work” by the artist. Organised by Arthouse-The Space, Coming Home is supported by Diamond Bank, Arra Vineyards, 7UP and Renault.
Ekpuk established himself as an illustrator, publishing his works in newspapers until he left Nigeria in late 1990s.
His bio released by Arthouse-The Space states: Ekpuk is a Nigerian-born artist based in Washington, DC. Ekpuk came to prominence through his paintings and drawings which reflect indigenous African philosophies of the Nsibidi and uli art forms. He reimagines graphic symbols from diverse cultures to form a personal style of mark making that results in the interplay of art and writing. His work frequently explores the human condition in society, drawing upon a wide spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses.
Ekpuk obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Nigeria in 1989. He developed a minimalist approach of reducing form to constituent lines, a technique he explored while working as a cartoonist for Daily Times, a leading Nigerian newspaper, in the 1990s. His work has been exhibited in acclaimed international venues including the Krannert Art Museum (Illinois), the Fowler Museum (California), the Museum of Art and Design (New York), the Newark Museum (New Jersey), the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York), the Dakar Biennale (Senegal) and the Johannesburg Biennial (South Africa). Most recently, Ekpuk was featured in exhibitions at the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College and the 12th Havana Biennale in Cuba. His works are in the permanent collections of 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 the Fidelity Investment Art Collection.
During his residency with the Arthouse Foundation in 2015, Ekpuk participated in public programmes as he interacted with the local community.
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