Portraits

Nigerian artist Victor Ekpuk will be exhibiting Portraits at the Sulger-Buel-Lovell Gallery in London during September and October 2015.
‘According to African philosophy, the head is the seat of consciousness and memory, and our lives on earth are guided by its disposition.’ – Ekpuk
Portraits, a series of paintings and fine drawings rooted in African philosophies and aesthetics, is borne from Ekpuk’s interest and continuous exploration of consciousness and the enigmatic nature of the human condition. Through meditative mark-making, a visual language that developed from his re-imagining of Nsibidi ideographic and pictographic script, Ekpuk’s abstract portraiture explores the notion of the essence of self.
Moving beyond the traditional canvas and employing a visual stream of consciousness, Ekpuk will further transform the gallery into a metaphysical space through a live drawing performance. Through his ephemeral drawing performance, audiences will have the rare opportunity to share in Ekpuk’s intimate ritual of mark-making on the opening night.
Victor Ekpuk was born in Nigeria in 1964. He received his BA in Fine and Applied Arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria in 1989. He currently resides in Washington DC, USA.
Ekpuk’s work is borne from his interest in consciousness, memory, the enigmatic nature of the human condition, individual and collective identities and universal notions of the essence of self. He draws from Africana aesthetics and philosophies, creating paintings, fine drawings and metaphysical environments through ephemeral drawing performances inspired by Uli (Igbo body and mural drawing).
Through ritualistic mark-making, a visual language that developed from his re-imagining of Nsibidi ideographic and pictographic script, he began re-exploring drawing as a system of writing. Nsibidi is an ancient form of sacred communication, among the male secret societies of the Ibibio, Efik, Ejagham and Igbo peoples of southeastern Nigeria.
Ekpuk’s minimalist lines enlivened by intricate pseudo-glyphs, ‘scribblings’ and negative spaces, seek to reduce form to its essence and his use of bold primary colours heightens the sacredness and primordial energy that his work unconsciously evokes.
He has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions at institutions such as the Smithsonian, National Museum of African Art, Washington, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York and the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, and his works are housed in international public and private collections.

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