Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mourning Ojukwu begins

I was born 6 days after the first shots of the Nigeria-Biafra war were fired. I am and will always be proud to say I was born in the Republic of Biafra. It is true that I have carried a Nigerian passport since August 1981, but that will only really have meaning if Nigeria stops killing Ndi Igbo, whether they are living and working in the north or serving Nigeria under the NYSC scheme. Holding a Nigerian passport will only make sense when Nigeria recognises the fact that Biafra was not a fiction and people should be free to talk about Biafra without fear of intimidation and jail by the Nigerian government who, by the way, must find a way to create a fitting monument and memorial for all those who lost their lives in that war. As Biafrans mourn General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu they must not be afraid to say their name.

Nnorom Azuonye

Friday, November 25, 2011

Echekoba, Azuonye Art Exhibitions in London

Chike Azuonye and Mike Echekoba

All of this week I have been dreaming in colour. It is a pleasant and beautiful experience. My dreams have been fed by all the paintings I have been enjoying recently and will enjoy through this weekend..

On Monday, 21st of November, I attended the Winter Show - a group exhibition at the Commonwealth Club in London by the trio of commonwealth artists Michael Echekoba (Nigeria), Phyllis Dupuy (Canada), and Swadeka Ahsun (Mauritius).

red wine echekoba

Echekoba’s works capture images and sceneries that celebrate life in Nigeria and Europe. I particularly loved the picture of lovers strolling arm in arm, and the textured celebration of the red wine in the picture above. Quite a few of Echekoba’s pantings were about living life, about intimate moments frozen in beautiful colours. A beautiful collection this winter.

I did not have the opportunity of meeting Swadeka Ahsun, there were some really spooky paintings I wanted to discuss. That will wait for another time. Phyllis Dupuy is a great portraitist. According to her, she has been doing portraits for only about 4 years, but the photographic detail and atmosphere in those images were intriguing. I wonder what her portraits will look like in 10 years time.

portrait by Phyllis Dupuy

A bit of an exhibitionist myself, I could not resist a photo opportunity with the artist.

Nnorom Azuonye and Mike Echekoba

On November 26th and 27th, Chike Azuonye will hold a 2-day solo exhibition titled View Point – an exhibition of recent works at the WAC Gallery, 14 Baylis Road, Waterloo, SE1 7AA on Satuday 26th and Sunday 27th November 2011. The event will be on from 11:00am to 8:00pm on both days.


Here is a press release by Chike Azuonye:


Chike Azuonye announces new solo Art Exhibition

clip_image002London, 16th November 2011, painter and portraitist Chike Azuonye announced ‘View Point’ a new solo exhibition of new works to be held at the WAC Gallery, on the 26th and 27th of November 2011.

Azuonye is a Nigeria-born artist who has been active in the London art scene since the late 1980s. His works are remarkable for their depths of expression and thought. At first glance of Chike’s works, the viewer is presented with rich vibrant colours harmoniously orchestrated like music. Art to him is about celebration and immediacy: something to be enjoyed and appreciated. But on a closer look, Chike has always a message beyond the aesthetics; a narrative which delves into his African root, as well as his philosophical leaning and pursuits.

Chike acknowledges three prominent artists as having influenced his art today. These mentors are Gauguin, Modigliani and his university lecturer Prof Obiora Udechukwu, a lecturer at St Lawrence University in the United States of America. Chike, from his early years in the university, studied Gauguin and his palette and with the help of his lecturer, gained mastery in both theory and practical application of colour. The element of distortion in his work was inspired by Professor Udechukwu, especially, from his Biafra and Nigerian war-sketch diaries. Much later, Chike developed intense interest in Modigliani and his technique of elongation of the human form. Armed with these tools, Chike formally developed a style, which gives his work a unique and fresh appeal.

In the 80s, Chike, who is also a poet, had several exhibitions which he developed, based on themes and images from favourite poems. Later, those themes evolved into motifs that enabled him to explore his inner recesses and to produce outstanding surrealistic and mystical works.

In the 90s, there was sudden departure from his surrealistic approach to a more recognisable form. Chike started working on the numerous sketches of his Nigerian root, especially those motifs that provided him with a narrative about commerce, farming and cultural life of the people. Amongst his paintings were: the “Milk Maid,” a series on the “Market Women,” the “Drummers,” and the “Rites of Passage.”

From 2000, Chike began to explore abstract art and in the years to follows produced many abstract arts, notably, Mediation, Re-birth and Creation. During this period, Chike had numerous group shows and some solo shows.

View Point, his latest exhibition is a celebration of all these years, showcasing some of his themes, images and styles. Chike is eclectic in his work, and challenges himself with the mastery of various artistic media, such as Acrylic, Oil, Charcoal and watercolour.

For more information visit:

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Goodbye Heavy D.

Goodbye Heavy D. Ride it. Ride it
smooth and banging to the other side
rappin’ poppin’ dancin’ all the way.

Trouble T. Roy’s waiting with Heavy Drums
rollin’ out hot hot hot beats perfect n’ rousin’
music gods from sleep deep and sweet.

He thumbs you up for makin’ it
exactly double the twenty-two he said goodbye
19 more than Tupac, but too too young, Heavy.

Party up H, you’ve got the groove. I’m blasting
your beats this morning, n’ even my 4-year-old boy
is feelin’ them n’ we’re sayin’ thank you & goodbye.

Nnorom Azuonye