By Japhet Davidson
IFEANYICHUKWU Oraemeka is one of the female curators making waves in the male-dominated art industry. Ordinarily, seeing her in an exhibition hall, one would conclude that she is either there as a collector or someone with the family to view art works, but that was not to be, the young beautiful graduate of Fisheries Management happens to be the curator of the exhibition and apart from that, some of her art works were on display too.
A peep into the body of works on display reveals the creative ingenuity of the artist. In fact she is creating works from nothing, little wonder that she sees herself as one who turns uncommon pieces to master pieces.
In a chat with the soft spoken creator, curator, actress and social works volunteer who currently works in Lagos, Nigeria, Ify disclosed that she has been creating works for over a decade, but started curating six years ago and since then, she has curated about 40 exhibitions and has worked with over 15 notable artists.
On how she went into arts after studying Fisheries management she said: “I have always been artistic from birth but was not really expressing it for some reasons, but now I have found ways of curating and creating wonderful works.”
She did not stop at that, according to her, in order to make a name in arts, in 2018, she started her own company, Afrornaments, where she shares her crafts with the world. This company showcases her curatorial works, contents, ethnic furnitures, Africa-inspired ornaments for interiors and exteriors, works of artists and more. “In fact, we are masters in turning uncommon pieces to master pieces.”
Her works; which tings with the savour of African ingenuity gives a closer look to the historical, personal, aesthetics and pop culture of African arts and crafts.
On how she gets her materials, she pointed out that she work with things others might not consider to be art and make them master pieces. “At AFRORNAMENTS, I take uncommon pieces and turn them into master pieces.”
Talkin about her exoerience so far, “my first experience was both demanding and amazing, I would say the artist was quite easy to work with. But the first time I curated a group exhibition, which happens to be my first time of handling that number of artists at the same time, but it turned out okay.
On how she is making it in the male dominated art industry, she said “in the arts, I just do my works. Art is endless. There are different expressions of it and the sky is big enough, so I just focus on getting my work done and send my messages across.”
On the name, Afrornaments, “I chosed the name because Africa is everything, there is so much here and many things you find in the world is either African or was influenced by Africa. So I’m lending my expressions to the uniqueness of Africa.”
Finally, on advice for upcoming female curators, “I would tell anyone to be their self and do their thing and if you are passionate about what you do, it could sustain you.”