Obiora Udechukwu Nigerian, b. 1946


Obiora Udechukwu is one of Nigeria’s most influential artists and poets and a leading figure of Nigeria’s Nsukka school.

His artistic career began in the late 1960s at the dawn of the Nigerian Civil War. Part of the second wave of modern artists at Nigerian universities after independence, Udechukwu studied art at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Southeastern Nigeria. An important center for art education, The Nsukka school is best known for the revival of uli, an Igbo art tradition that was historically used for body art and wall murals. Udechukwu’s intimate association with the Nsukka art department, where he taught art for many years until his migration to the United States in the mid-1990s, foregrounds his modernist explorations of uli as a potent resource in studio practice.


Born in 1946 in Onitsha, Nigeria, Obiora Udechukwu studied at Ahmadu Bello University for a year before transferring to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, at the beginning of the Nigerian Civil War. During the war, he worked in the Propaganda Unit and participated in art and writing workshops. After completing his Masters degree in Fine Arts at Nsukka in 1977, Udechukwu taught in the art department for many years, eventually serving as a Professor of Painting. He is a founding member of the AKA Circle of Artists. As the head of Nsukka’s art department, Udechukwu mentored a generation of artists and art historians, including Tayo Adenaike, Olu Oguibe, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Marcia Kure, Ndidi Dike, Ozioma Onuzulike and Sylvester Ogbechie. In 1997, Udechukwu became a Professor of Fine Arts at St. Lawrence University in New York, where he served until his retirement in 2018. Udechukwu is now based in Carson, California.

Udechukwu has presented over twenty-five solo exhibitions in Nigeria, England, Zimbabwe, Germany, and United States. His work has been featured in seminal exhibitions of modern and contemporary African art, including The Poetics of Line: Seven Artists of the Nsukka Group at the National Museum of African Art of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa at Whitechapel Gallery.

Udechukwu’s work is included in the collections of The National Gallery of Modern Art (Lagos); Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC; Newark Museum; the Hood Museum at Dartmouth; Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Lagos; Iwalewa-Haus, University of Bayreuth, Germany; Museum fur Volkderkunde, Frankfurt/Main, Germany; Bradford City Museums and Galleries, Bradford, England; and National Council of Arts and Culture, Lagos.

Art Fairs
Installation shots