The Art of Nnenna Okore | Tunde Folawiyo

The African continent is home to some of the most unique works of art the world has ever seen. A rich cultural history and the magnificent sights of nature’s beauty abound are among the great inspirations held by African artists. African art enthusiasts such as Tunde Folawiyo may find great sentiment in the works of art of the continent’s most powerful artists. Nnenna Okore is among these, using unconventional materials and painstaking techniques to draw attention to environment issues stemming from her native Nigeria.

Born in 1975, Nnenna Okore was raised in Nsukka and stands among Africa’s most prolific artists. Upon receiving a B.A degree in Painting from the University of Nigeria in 1999, Nnenna Okore went on to earn M.A and M.F.A. degrees in Sculpture from the University of Iowa in 2004 and 2005. Through this training, Nnenna Okore has become one of the most formidable artists of her generation and that of Africa as a whole. Her art works, inspired by textures, colors and landscapes, utilise discarded yet reusable materials such as magazines, bringing focus to consumerism, excessive wastefulness, and transformation of materials. Through Tunde Folawiyothe use of intricate sculpture and installations techniques, Nnenna Okore possesses an outstanding ability to transform every-day objects into stunning works of creativity. Some of these techniques include weaving, sewing, rolling, twisting and dyeing unconventional materials such as clay, rope, wax and burlap. In fact, one of her most famous pieces, “Rope”, created in 2006, was constructed from rolls of newspaper. Although much of her work reflects the environmental issues faced by her native Nigeria, these concerns are relevant not only to the continent of Africa, but across the world as well, a testament to Nnenna Okore’s outstanding abilities to connect with her audience.

Continuing her passion for art, Nnenna Okore is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at North Park University. The recipient of several awards and residencies worldwide, Nnenna’s work has been exhibited in several prestigious galleries and museums throughout the world, including the Museum of Art and Design New York and the October Gallery, London. A 2012/13 honoree of the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award, Nnenna Okore was recently featured in the July/August 2013 issue of Sculpture Magazine and continues her esteemed work in the United States. With her creative talent at the forefront of the African contemporary art scene, Nnenna Okore’s work will continue to inspire art lovers such as Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout the continent and beyond.


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