Ozioma Onuzulike Nigeria, b. 1972

Overview

Ozioma Onuzulike is a ceramic artist, poet and historian of African art and design whose studio work has largely focused on the historical and sociological roots of the political and socio-economic turmoil in Africa and their debilitating effects on daily living on the continent.

He often explores the aesthetic, symbolic and metaphorical nature of clay (his basic material) and the clay-working processes – pounding, crushing, hammering, wedging, grinding, cutting, pinching, punching, perforating, burning, firing – in his making of the multiple units that characterize his mixed-media projects. His recent work has been inspired by the aesthetic and conceptual force held by such natural resources as yam tubers, palm kernel shells and honeycombs which he mass-produces in terracotta and weaves together in often laborious processes. He configures a multiplicity of the individual units in ways that call attention to burning socio-political and environmental issues (such as reckless politics, bad governance, imperialism, terrorism and climate change) and their effects on the human condition in Africa and beyond.

Onuzulike is professor of ceramic art and African art and design history at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His recent solo exhibition, Seed Yams of Our Land, was held at the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos, Nigeria, in 2019, along with a presentation of his poetry collection of the same title also published by the CCA. His works have been included in the forthcoming exhibition at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK, arising from the Re-entanglement Research Project led by Professor Paul Basu.

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