The 4th Edition of the ‘Plate and Palette” exhibition project was a mixed grill of art and artists, with a group of exhibiting artists seeking comprehensive examination of the function and role of art from a variety of views and contexts. HAWWA GAMBO presents her encounter with some of the artists.
Chike Emembo is the brain behind Artaste. A religious and spiritually inspired artist, Chike’s works depicts deep spiritual and religious thoughts.
He is a graduate of Fine and Applied Arts of Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe, Anambra state, and then the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Why spiritual and religious pieces?
I do get commissions to paint portraits; I love doing portraits, but I am more known for my spiritually inspired pieces. I started painting as a teenager while I was in secondary school and began painting professionally in 2004.
Idea behind ‘Artaste’
Sharing food has always been part of human history, with it we make friends court lovers and count our blessings. ‘’ To break bread together’’ a phrase as old as the bible, captures the power of a meal to forge relationships, bury anger and provoke laughter.
We are seeking to find common grounds in the things that bind us as a people, like food, art, music and sports. Things we share regardless of cultural, religious or ethnic affiliations.
People go to restaurants to eat with the only bias being to get value for money in terms of quality of food and service.
We also recognise that catering is an art, a skill that is learnt and honed much like the sculptor or painter. Everyday caterers are producing ephemeral art, from the presentation of the food, the choice of table clothe, tapestries, blinds and overall ambience all targeted at achieving set goals.
The conscious harnessing of the synergy between art and food brings new appreciation and meaning to the dining experience.
Experience as professional artist
It has been fantastic, it is immensely fulfilling even though not very economically rewarding. But if you love what you do and derive pleasure from it, and you are committed and resilient; it eventually works out well.
Amarachi Kelechi Odimba
Amarachi Kelechi Odimba, is a graduate of Geology and Mining from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology. He also has a Diploma in Education from the National Teachers Institute.
Background as artist
As a child, I used to draw and scribble on the wall at home, as well as on drawing books. My art outlived those of my siblings because I was more expressive with art.
I was a quite child, who was very fascinated with colours and spent much time drawing.
I react to personal experiences and try to portray them in my works. I use the human form as a visual metaphor to address societal issues related to education, sexuality, identity and relationships.
My paintings are figurative, mainly human forms. Sometimes they appear near abstract, which is specifically to evoke emotions from the audience.
I paint mainly with acrylic, my colors are very vibrant, I use bold brush strokes with paints dripping.
Experience so far
Being an artist has not been rosy. But it is the passion and fulfilment derived from it that keeps me going. There has been considerable growth in what I do, and I am certain of more success eventually.
Nigerian art industry
I see a future where Nigerian art become globalised and is widely recognised. A lot of Nigerian artists are in the world spot light right now, and I look forward to better policies in the art industry, better market and mode of operations.
Obi Nwaegbe started painting as an undergraduate. He studied Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria Nsukka and had his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Nassarawa state.
I came into contact with nomads of the Middle-belt in Lafia, Nassarawa state, during my NYSC in 2006. The nomads and their way of life became a muse for me as I began to have interests in studying their features, social life and character.
This interests eventually took me to Kebbi state in 2007, where I spent several weeks drawing and taking photograph of nomads.
Art is my life. It is very much as important to me as eating or breathing. I immerse myself in every subject that I work on which is always a fulfilling experience for me.
Nigerian art industry
Nigerian art industry has been experiencing very radical reforms within the last 10 years and more recognitions from International Institutions recently. This is the result of resilient artists, promoters and collectors of Art, all over the country.
Today, we have several art auctions managed by renowned auction houses like Sotheby and others. The result is an increased confidence in the industry by both local and foreign investors.