By Prisca Sam-Duru
From the yearly talent show, Next of Kin, two future masters, Ikechukwu Ezeigwe and Christian Allison step up their art.
After emerging winners from the 2019 and 2020 Next of Kin editions respectively, Ikechukwu and Allison are having a joint art exhibition titled Transcendence, from April 11-26, 2021 at Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.
According to Exhibition Director at Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Mr Ovie Omatsola, the art of the two artists consists of “crazy” styles that never disappoints in keeping the beholder staring at their works. Omatsola described the artists as fast excelling and noted how their art pulls the audience very close and keeps them engaged tirelessly. From a curatorial perspective, Omatsola saw creative attempt of the two artists, especially, how they grasp the level of confidence that inspires their “out of the box” skills, which create marvelous and impeccable pieces of art.
The two artists will be exhibiting 10 artworks each in a show that Omatsola said expands Thought Pyramid’s commitment to not just discovering future masters, but also helping them to excel. “The underlying goal of Transcendence is breaking the Nigerian curse of not strengthening talents discovered by a project, platform, or organization,” Omatsola who curated the past Next of Kin editions explained. “Next of Kin is focused on discovering, promoting, and supporting emerging talents who are capable of becoming the future masters”.
Speaking on the theme, the Exhibition Director said Transcendence is a step further in sustaining and fulfilling the vision of Next of Kin which is providing continuous promotion and support for discovered talents. He explained: “It is noteworthy to say that the artistic journey of Ikechukwu Ezeigwe and Christian Allison has risen above and beyond the level of emerging artists since winning Next of Kin. Ikechukwui Ezeigwe last year on November 23, had one of his works sold by the renowned Bonhams Private Auction house in the United Kingdom. Christian Allison has also had his outstanding artworks sold in Mexico and other art communities around the world.”
Omatsola predicted that “the exhibition will be a spectacle presenting gripping artworks of two “highly-in-demand” and fast excelling artists who are now bigger than what they were prior to winning the Thought Pyramid Next of Kin awards.
“Indeed, Ikechukwu Ezeigwe and Christian Allison have become two priceless Nigerian exports who continue to evolve in their particular art specializations.”
This is not the first time the two artists would be exhibiting together. In 2018, the two artists exhibited in Tales From Within at the National Museum Gallery, Onikan, Lagos.
(b.08/03/1988) is a young, dynamic Artist whose painting style he calls Anthropology is characterized by human figures with animal heads which he uses to express themes like politics, love, affection, etc. He effectively uses his unique painting style to advocate for good and credible governance in his country. He is a full-time studio artist. He creates his paintings using oil on canvas as it helps him achieve his actual object.
Ikechukwu Ezeigwe’s career has risen beyond getting lashes for drawing on his textbooks, notebooks, house walls, and grounds to being celebrated nationwide by the biggest and most respected galleries in the country. While his father persistently convinced him to become a lawyer as a child, his intentional determination to become an artist has paved the way for him. Like he said during the TRANSCENDENCE Team visit to his studio that he believes “in intention. I was intentional about what I wanted right from time.” Discussing with the transcendence team about the days before TRANSCENDING, he said “I started out from a one-room small studio somewhere in mile 2. In fact, I hardly invited any of my friends during the one year and six months that I stayed there. Because the place was a ghetto… I dreamt of a better day and those days are coming to pass one after the other.” His visit to the Universal Studio at the National Theatre Iganmu Lagos as a curious discouraged artist.
(b. 25/01/1991) is a hyperrealistic charcoal and pastel artist with his major medium being chalk pastel and sometimes oil pastel. His works are also expressed on textured canvas and paper using graphite(pencil). The artist who had his works sold out during the grand finale of the Next of Kin juried competition and exhibition said “God actually is at the center of my transcendence.
Allison originated from a family of artists yet it is of great wonder how he never really got a formal degree or certification in art which of course is hard to believe when in close visual and intellectual contact with his breathtaking artworks that could almost pass for a high definition photograph. His perfectionist traits can be witnessed in his art while he has worked in oil and gas, practiced as a mechanical engineer, and a professional in software test analysis, an Automated Teller Machine administration, the repairs of Ford automobiles. When asked WHY ART? during an interview with the Transcendence team, Allison said “Art has always been there; while I was playing football; while I was doing mechanical engineering, art did not let me rest. It was really struggling to try to get its space…I worked in the oil and gas too and art was still there.