Next Wave Nigeria: Artists in Dialogue with curator Christa Clarke: Marcia Kure, Osi Audu, Nnenna Okore – May 10, 2012

May 1, 2012 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

Marcia Kure now on view in Expanding Africa at the Newark Museum: New Visions, New Galleries

Written by Perrin Lathrop, Research Assistant of the Arts of Africa, Newark Museum

In the elemental power of the animal and human figures I see parallels to the savagery of contemporary society.  –Marcia Kure

Marcia Kure (b. 1970, Nigeria; lives and works in New Jersey) Untitled, 2009 Ink and watercolor, pencil, collage, Gift of Patricia Bell, 2010 2010.49.2 29 ½ x 22 inches

Artist Marcia Kure’s biography informs her artistic outlook. Born in 1970 to a Christian family from the predominantly Muslim state of Kaduna in northern Nigeria, Kure endured the trials of living as a minority from an early age. Since her father served as a military general, Kure’s family moved throughout the country during her childhood, compelling the artist to become familiar with Nigeria’s culturally, ethnically, and religiously diverse landscape.  She graduated in 1994 with a B.A. in Painting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, studying under Obiora Udechukwu, and found her creative voice in the uli style espoused there. Uli is a body and wall painting tradition comprised of abstract forms derived from nature and practiced by rural Igbo women. Nigerian artists in the 1960s and 1970s appropriated the tradition as an artistic lexicon meant to convey the modernist sensibility of the postcolonial era.

The feminist undertones in Kure’s work build upon the crucial role women have played culturally, politically, and socially throughout Nigeria’s history. Kure concerns herself with the current status of women in society, particularly within postcolonial Africa. Remembering the “Women’s War” of 1929, during which women in southeastern Nigeria publicly protested the taxation policies of the British colonial administration, Kure has stated, “If women have done it before, why not today?” The artist utilizes kola nut pigment, traditionally used in uli body painting, to generate delicately drawn works that often veer towards the fantastical. Kure’s anthropomorphic creatures blend reality and fiction, recalling the spare style of prehistoric South African rock painting and encouraging contemplation.

While Kure’s interests in womanhood are grounded in an African context, her personal treatment of these concerns takes on a universal humanism. Now based in New Jersey, Kure creates work that necessarily touches an audience outside of Africa. Marcia Kure and two other Nigerian artists residing in the United States, Osi Audu and Nnenna Okore, will participate in the NEXT WAVE NIGERIA Artist’s Dialogue at the museum on Thursday, May 10, 2012. So come, see their work, and hear more, from the artists themselves, about how African art really is HERE—and everywhere.

Check back later this week and next for a look into the practices of Osi Audu and Nnenna Okore in preparation for May 10th’s event!

Artists in Dialogue
May 10, 7-8:30 pm
Reception in the Engelhard Court, 6-7 pm
FREE with suggested admission (pre-registration required, call 973.596.6613)

Join Newark Museum curator Christa Clarke for an evening of conversation with Nigerian-born, US-based artists Nnenna Okore, Marcia Kure and Osi Audu. The artists will offer a glimpse into their creative process and sources of inspiration as they discuss their most recent work.

Sponsored by the Friends of African Art


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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