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.


The career of Congolese artist Chéri Samba | Tunde Folawiyo

Chéri Samba was born in Democratic Republic of Congo, to a farmer and a blacksmith. His father expected him to join his blacksmith business, but Samba had no interest in this trade. In 1970, he left secondary school and two years later, he moved in with his uncle in Tunde FolawiyoKinshasa. He took up work as a sign painter, and began to learn more about well-known artists such as Bodo and Moke; two figures whom most art enthusiasts, including Tunde Folawiyo, are likely to be familiar with.

It was here that he also discovered the artist Apuza, whose work was on display on the streets of the city; this inspired him to consider art as a profession, and he even spent some time working as Apuza’s apprentice. Later, after being trained by two other artists, he joined Apuza in his studio once again, but this time, as his collaborator.

In 1975, Samba decided to open up his own studio. At this point in his life, he was also working for a publication known as Bilegene Info, as an illustrator, whilst continuing his sign-painting. His new creative space, coupled with these jobs, led Samba to combine traditional illustrative techniques with comic-strip style word bubbles. The latter meant that he could now not only represent his opinions and emotions through imagery, but also through text.

Discussing his decision to add text to his paintings, Samba said that he hoped it would encourage people to spend more time examining the work, and therefore makes it easier for them to understand the message he was trying to convey. His paintings were well-received in his local area, and over the course of about four years, he began to receive international acclaim. He continued to make commissions for his African clientele, but also started to expand into Europe. In 1979, a number of his pieces were featured in a German exhibition entitled Moderne Kunst aus Afrika.

By the time the eighties rolled around, Samba had gained many international fans. As an art lover, Tunde Folawiyo might know that throughout this decade, Samba’s work focused almost entirely on his personal interpretation of the cultural, economic, political and social changes which were occurring in Democratic Republic of Congo. He depicted images which conveyed the corruption, illnesses and social inequalities which plagued the nation. However, as time wore on, Samba became more intrigued by the idea of self-portraiture; this, he explained, was not due to any form of narcissism, but was instead linked to his interest in portraying what it means to be an internationally successful African artist.

The work of the sculptor Sokari Douglas Camp | Tunde Folawiyo

Sokari Douglas Camp is a Nigerian sculptor whom most art fanatics, including Tunde Folawiyo, are probably aware of. Born in 1958, in Buguma (a Kalabari town in the south of Nigeria), Camp moved to London when she was 25, but has continued to return to her homeland regularly. Her work has been exhibited in the USA, New Zealand, Japan, Europe and Great Britain and she has been the recipient of numerous honours, awards and grants over the years, including the Henry Moore Foundation bursary.

Tunde Folawiyo

Some of her most notable solo exhibitions are Imagined Steel at the Lowry Arts Centre in Manchester, and Spirits in Steel; the art of the Kalabari Masquerade. She also worked with Ground Force to develop a sculpture for the British Museum’s African Garden; this was completed in 2005. During the same year, she was named as a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire). In addition to this, Camp has been commissioned to create several public memorial sculptures, one of which was the Living Memorial, made in honour of Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Camp received most of her education during the late seventies and early eighties, in both the USA and England; first attending the California College of Arts and Crafts, and then receiving her bachelor’s degree from the Central School of Art and Design in London. Shortly after this, she gained a master’s from the Royal College of Art. (1) One of her first major shows was held two years after she received her MA; entitled Echoes of the Kalabari, it was held in the National Museum of African Art in Washington.

Those who, like Tunde Folawiyo, are interested in the work of African artists, may be aware that throughout her career, Camp has been fascinated by Kalabari culture, and has based many of her pieces around this theme. She favours modern sculptural techniques, and uses these to create figurative, semi-abstract pieces which are inspired by the colours, emotions, movements and sounds typically associated with important Kalabari events, such as festivals, regattas, plays, funerals and masquerades. Steel is often her material of choice; this is primarily due to the fact that Kalabari women are not allowed to carve using this particular material; and so for Camp, using steel is a way for her to transcend a cultural, gender-based boundary.

Tunde Folawiyo: Dedication to Schooling

Tunde Folawiyo has long utilised his years of education to bring forth new opportunities for Africa’s youth and overall economic advancement. An esteemed graduate of the London School of Economics, Tunde Folawiyo spent years studying the fields of law and business. His everlasting commitment to Africa’s growth is continued through his involvement in various business, educational and philanthropic efforts throughout the region.

With a strong desire to acquire an broad education, Tunde Folawiyo received his Bachelors of Science degree in Economics, from the London School of Economics in 1980. His specialisation in industry and trade paved the way for his future work as a leading entrepreneur in supporting the economic advancement of his native Nigeria. After earning an undergraduate law degree from the London School of Economics in 1984, Tunde Folawiyo concluded his formal education with a Masters in Law degree in 1985.

In addition to serving as Group Managing Director & CEO of the Yinka Folawiyo Group of Companies, a dynamic conglomerate with various business interests across the globe, Tunde Folawiyo is currently Vice-President of the Nigerian Association of Indigenous Petroleum Explorers and Productions (NAIPEC). His dedication toward expanding Nigeria’s lucrative petroleum sector is fostered through Folawiyo Energy Ltd, a subsidiary of the Yinka Folawiyo Group, who currently processes approximately 30% of premium motor spirit in today’s Nigerian market. Through these and his work as a board member of the likes of MTN Nigeria, a developing and emerging organisation, Tunde Folawiyo continues to support Nigeria’s economic advancement.

Tunde Folawiyo is an honourary citizen of the city of Houston, and was appointed Honourary Consul of Barbados, an important role in strengthening ties between Barbados and Nigeria. Through these and his esteemed 2010 African Business Leadership Award, Tunde Folawiyo solidifies his role as an ongoing proponent of his country’s advancement.

Tunde Folawiyo’s dedication to his country provides an ideal platform to continue his mission in contributing to the growth of education throughout Africa. As a member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s World Fellowship, Tunde Folawiyo also serves as a revered director of the African Leadership Academy, a leading institution encouraging the developmental success of today’s young African leaders.

Tunde Folawiyo | Education in Africa

As a proponent of the advancement of education throughout Africa, Tunde Folawiyo continues to serve his native country Nigeria as an entrepreneur, philanthropist and leader in education Tunde Folawiyo has always harboured a passion for educatTunde Folawiyoion. As a graduate of the London School of Economics, Tunde Folawiyo then went on to gain a master’s degree in law.

As Group Managing Director & CEO of the Yinka Folawiyo Group of Companies, an established Nigerian conglomerate with businesses across a range of industries, Tunde Folawiyo continues to support the exploration of new energy sources throughout Nigeria. With his position as Vice-President of the Nigerian Association of Indigenous Petroleum Explorers and Productions, Tunde Folawiyo furthers his mission toward expanding the country’s petroleum sector. He is also a board member of MTN Nigeria, and his role within other thriving companies.

In addition to his business accomplishments, Tunde Folawiyo’s dedication to improving education throughout Africa is conveyed through his involvement with various institutions. He currently serves as an esteemed member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s World Fellowship, a distinguished world-wide network of philanthropists whose focus lie in youth development. Tunde Folawiyo provides a strong voice in promoting the success of the country’s future leaders through these and other school leadership boards throughout Africa. As a member of the Global Advisory Board of the esteemed African Leadership Academy, a key role in coaching Africa’s young scholars, Tunde continues to drive efforts toward improving the education system throughout the land.

Tunde Folawiyo was awarded an honourary citizenship of the city of Houston, as well as the title of Honourary Consul of Barbados, a position holding great weight in strengthening relations between Barbados and Nigeria. With these honours and as a recipient of the 2010 African Business Leadership Award, Tunde Folawiyo solidifies his role as a committed leader in furthering Africa’s advancement.