Announcing 'The New Nsukka School' Exhibition Series

28 January-8 April 2021

kó is pleased to present a three-part exhibition series, The New Nsukka School, featuring solo exhibitions by artists Ngozi-Omeje Ezema, Eva Obodo, and Ozioma Onuzulike, taking place January-April 2021.

The Nsukka School is term used to distinguish artists who have studied and taught at the Fine and Applied Arts Department at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in Southeastern Nigeria, and who share a critical engagement in both their visual and theoretical fields. The formal and aesthetic codes of the Nsukka school draw primarily from the art school’s creative ideology which places emphasis on experimentation as a critical aspect of the creative process. An important center for art education in Nigeria, the experimental trajectory of the post-Civil War art department at Nsukka was spearheaded by Uche Okeke and Chike Aniakor in the early 1970s, and has subsequently been led by prominent artists including Obiora Udechukwu and El Anatsui. Historically, stylistic trends in the Nsukka school have largely been driven by the enriching influence of art teachers whose pedagogical footprints and artistic sensibilities have had a crystallizing effect on the Nsukka art school’s stylistic identity. 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, placing this visual language into contemporary art discourses.

As a descriptive label, the Nsukka School references a stylistic heritage whose formal and aesthetic codes draw from a creative ideology that is conceptually idealized, experimentally driven and intellectually grounded. Nsukka artists leverage this ideology in creating contemporary art through the exploration of ideas, materials and forms sourced from the environment. Many of these artists are known for a stylistic regime that critically engages with the materiality and metaphoric value of both natural and man-made objects. The core thesis of Nsukka school art centres on the use of indigenous knowledge to interrogate local and global spheres of art practice.

The New Nsukka School exhibition series re-examines the conceptual and aesthetic concerns of the Nsukka School through three contemporary artists, who all currently serve as lecturers or professors in its art department. Although sharing commonalities in technical approaches and the use of commonplace materials, the differing formal language employed by these artists highlights how they each engage the potentialities and materiality of their chosen medium. In this context, actions like piercing, tying, stringing, suspending, perforating, cutting, firing, dyeing and roasting, among others, are used as metaphors that explicate the temporariness, permanence and liminality of the human condition.

The first exhibition features Ngozi-Omeje Ezema, lecturer of ceramics at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, January 28-February 11, 2021.
The second show in the exhibition series will feature Eva Obodo, Senior Lecturer in sculpture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, taking place February 25-March 11, 2021.
The third exhibition presents Ozioma Onuzulike, Professor of Ceramics and Art History, taking place March 25-April 8, 2021.

The exhibition series includes a three-volume catalogue, with texts and critical analysis by Dr. George Odoh, Senior Lecturer in painting and drawing at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

January 22, 2021