Monday, 20 August 2012

Emeka Okoro

Emeka Okoro is a Igbo artist who left his architecture studies to pursue business administration, banking and painting. His work recalls the art of the 1960's Oshogbo movement in the southwest Nigerian state of Oshun with its geometric forms and vivid colors. The art of this movement and subsequently the art of Emeka Okoro celebrate both traditional subject matter and modern artistic styles. Emeka integrates Christian imagery into some of his work as well.

Emeka has had three major art exhibitions (in Charlotte, North Carolina and in Atlanta, Georgia) and has clients and benefactors that span the globe from the United States, Japan, and Nigeria. He is currently in the process of building a body of work for his upcoming exhibition in the United States. Emeka continues to seek other media to showcase his work – particularly in the commercial space.  You can find Emeka’s work on stamps, shoes, neckties, t-shirts, bags, as well as rugs (currently in production).

Emeka holds a bachelors degree in Finance and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in General Management.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Obiora Okafor

The son of an Ibo lawyer Okafor studied, practiced and taught law in Nigeria before coming to Canada. He won a scholarship to the University of British Columbia, earned two graduate degrees and joined Osgoode Hall Law School in 2000.

At Osgoode, Obiora lectures on international human rights law, human rights in Africa and the international law of south-north relations.  In 2010 Professor Obiora Okafor was awarded the prestigious nationwide, 2010 Prize for Academic Excellence by the Canadian Association of Law teachers.

He is the first African and black person in history to receive a top Canadian nationwide award for academic excellence for his outstanding contributions to legal research and teaching in Canada and around the world.

His most recent research projects include a study of human rights activism in Nigeria and a comparison of refugee rights in Canada and the United States post 9/11.

He is also affiliated with York’s Centre for Refugee Studies, the Harriet Tubman Institute and the Graduate Program in Socio-Legal Studies.

Okafor has also served as an expert panelist for the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent and a human rights consultant for the British Department for International Development. He has been a visiting scholar at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, and in Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program.

Professor Obiora Okafor was recently elected to the advisory committee of the United Nations Human Rights Council. He hails from Ukpo, Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Njideka Akunyili

US-based artist Njideka Akunyili is fast becoming the art world’s newest star. At this year’s Art Basel five of her large figurative collage paintings sold out in just half an hour. She was selected for the prestigious Studio Harlem residency program in 2011-2012 and is currently one of the three artists in its exhibition Primary Sources. Rumour has it that major collectors and museums are now vying for the works on show – an impressive feat for the recent Yale University MFA graduate.

Her art addresses her internal tension between her deep love for Nigeria, her country of birth, and her strong appreciation for Western culture, which has profoundly influenced both her life and her art. She uses her art as a way to negotiate her seemingly contradictory loyalties to both her cherished Nigerian culture that is currently eroding and to her white American husband. Most of the Nigerian traditions she experienced growing up are quickly disappearing due to the permeation of Western culture and the ensuing opinion that being ''too Nigerian'' is uncool.

Akunyili refers her work to Professor Homi Bhabha’s theory of hybridity and the ‘third space,’ in which cultures come together to create a new hybrid social space. It is this big mixed bag of emotions which clearly drives unique and beautiful art as in the case of Akunyili.Njideka was born in Enugu in 1983.