Nigerian contemporary artists you should know

Published 22 October 2022 in The Legacy

Every art lover should know the artists currently influencing the Nigerian contemporary art scene.

Peju Alatise. [aljazeera]

Nigeria's renewed cultural awareness and need to incorporate traditional symbols into art is garnering the attention of the world.

The contemporary art scene draws investors, grants, patrons, and buyers to drive the flourishing trade as well as place artists higher up the social ladder. Wealthy Nigerians are scrambling to buy up work from local artists.

These are the contemporary artists influencing the Nigerian art scene of today.

Born in 1975, Peju Alatise is an Architecture degree holder, writer, poet and, most importantly, an artist. She utilizes mixed media to voice her opinions on identity and female perceptions and reflections within themselves and in the society. Her work has received international recognition including at the Smithsonian.

Born in Nigeria in 1979, Nnenna Okore grew up in Nsukka, Nigeria and now lives and works in the United States of America. She teaches sculpture at North Park University, Chicago. Okore specializes in abstract sculpture from textural materials, and is known for taking found objects and transforming them into works of art with beautiful textures and colors. She draws inspiration from her childhood and the many man-made dwellings she saw contrasting against the natural environment. Her artworks speak of transformation, ageing, and decay.

Victoria Udondian was born in 1982 and trained as a painter, tailor, and fashion designer. Textiles are predominant in her works, with the use of fabrics such as burlap and second-hand clothing. She weaves the textiles together to create artworks with themes of cultural contamination and the continuous interaction between contemporary and traditional values.

Adamu Waziri is an animator who has taken it upon himself to re-animate African cartoons for children. His cartoons such as “Bino and Fino” show positive images of Africa instead of primitive, jungle depictions often seen in cartoons.

Marcia Kure is a painter, born in Kano but lives and works in the U.S., who addresses motherhood, pop culture and violence against women through multimedia. Kure's paintings and collages have an ethereal quality that contrasts with the often harsh messages. Kure navigates a range of material – normative fashion aesthetics, classic juvenile literature, African masks, and children toys – to reimagine new subjectivities and modes of being.

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