Nigerian born artist, Buchi Upjohn Aghaji dips his brush into vastly different hues when creating his works. He expresses his art through a variety of media including oil, watercolor and acrylic on cold-pressed paper, canvas, burlap, wood and pottery. The result is a refreshing change from the contemporary trend in Afro-centric painting. Aghaji says he was always interested in painting, his studies at the university steered him into the advertising field where he worked for a year in Nigeria. It wasn’t until he moved to England that he realized he could pursue his painting full time.
Always open to travel and new experiences, Aghaji decided to move to the United States. He spent three years in New York where he says at first his work was met with some resistance due to its break from tradition. He has held fast to the idea that "An appreciation and enjoyment of a thing of beauty is a freeing experience in itself". One must have that freedom to appreciate and interpret the beauty of art. This explains why his work takes a semi-abstract quality yet possessing a vibrance that makes you stop and take notice of the rhythm of the painting.
He also uses the traditional "Uli" motifs found in his tribe, the Igbos of Nigeria that displays a unique form of expression. Uli is the art of body decorations, consisting of lines and patterns that convey such admirable qualities as the strength, fertility, humility and compassion of the individuals they adorn. He states that using uli motifs enables him to remind everyone that these inner qualities are what we must seek to cultivate. This combining of the best of the "old" and the "new" come together make his work a unique and exhilarating experience.
Upjohn’s work has received much recognition and acclaim in Nigeria and other parts of the world. The president of Nigeria and numerous private collectors in England, Germany, America and Africa have collected his work.
Upjohn primarily focuses on painting in acrylics. He builds up his canvases and works on paper with paint applied with a palette knife. He then overlays color upon color, which results in a resilient array of textures. What makes Upjohn’s use of color significant is that the forms and shapes employed look as if they possess an interior light source. He may use twenty colors to arrive at the desired effect. To capture Upjohn’s color sensibility and multi-layered approach to creating his color scheme, the printers of the serigraph used more than forty separations to approximate the luminosity of Upjohn’s palette.
Upjohn’s most recent works focus on musical themes. He states, "I always dance around the musical themes because through music we can experience the beauty of harmony and through [the visual] arts we participate in the harmony of colors.
Art is only as good as the feelings it produces within us. That is why I reach within searching for my experiences to paint from them…my good experiences.
The phenomenal and thriving artist Lina Iris Viktor will present her first major museum exhibit at The New Orleans Museum of Art, opening this fall. Titled Lina Iris Viktor: A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred, the installation will be on display from October 5th, 2018 through January 6th, 2019.
A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred will feature an entirely new body of work created by Viktor that investigates the narratives surrounding America’s involvement in the founding of Liberia. Throughout the exhibit, the artist reimagines the rich history of Liberia’s colonial past. “Liberia appears in Viktor’s re-imagining as a kind of paradise lost, and as a cautionary tale,” said Allison Young, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow of Contemporary Art. “At the same time, her work transcends this narrative, revealing how examples of visual culture—from Dutch Wax fabrics to national emblems to gestures in the history of portraiture—exist as remnants of these colonial histories.”
Based in New York, the British-Liberian artist is highly known for her luxurious large-scale paintings and installations that are adorned with gold and include references to both modern and traditional West African culture.
“NOMA is pleased to present Lina Iris Viktor’s exhibition, and to foreground a lesser-known history of which the American South was a part,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “In this series, Viktor offers her unique perspective on a complex and multifaceted history.”
Programs related to the exhibition feature conversations led by Lina Iris Viktor and Allison Young, a film series, and a special talk with Viktor and curator Renée Mussai. For more information, please visit NOMA READ MORE........