Nnenna Okore - AFRICA Theme Sale New York Saturday, May 15, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Collection of the artist

  • Catalogue Essay

    Much of my inspiration stems from my childhood years at Nsukka, a small university town in southeastern Nigeria. As a child, I was fascinated by the social, natural, and man-made conditions in rural dwellings around the University campus. Embedded within its landscape were evocative imageries captured within its rocky slopes, and architectural structures. I came across several stunning traditional art and architectural forms, such as, roofed shrines characterized by huge mounds of sand under a thatched structure, and yam barns and fences that traced the borders of people’s compounds. I was also drawn to simple sights of bare-footed children appropriating toys and hunting tools from scrap objects.
    Other compelling views that appealed to my sensibilities were the carefully arranged wares borne on the heads of street peddlers, and household items in the market place lined up on the termite eaten tables and pews, plant tubers assembled in huge piles as well as sacks of grain stacked six to eight feet high and four to ten feet wide. Of course, the recycled cardboard boxes, newspapers and cement paper bags that served as insulation, bed padding, gift-wraps, mats, table coverings, and food wrappings within the market environment, were alluring to behold.
    Of all the aspects of rural life that inspired me, the use of discarded objects and found materials in coping with poor economic conditions, had the most profound impact on me. It is reflected in the visual content and imagery of my works, which by virtue of these influences, celebrate the transformation of discarded materials into cultural objects, forms, and spaces, and bring a critical focus to bear on the consumption and recycling cultures in parts of Nigeria. My materials include newspapers, wax, cloth, rope, clay and sticks and I apply various repetitive and labor-intensive techniques, like weaving, twisting, sewing, dyeing, waxing and rolling, which were learned by watching villagers perform everyday tasks. These processes accentuate colors, textures and other visceral qualities of my sculptures.
    Currently, I am invested in forms that explore, or are inspired by intimate spaces, shelters, architectural and natural environments, and ideas related to textures, colors, qualities and social values associated with African fabrics, using multiples and repetitive processes.
    Artist statement from www.nnennaokore.com




Ceramic rings with string.
70 x 55 1/2 in. (177.8 x 141 cm).

$25,000 - 35,000 

AFRICA Theme Sale

15 May 2010
New York