Over the weekend,in the very busy city of Lagos, at the Terra kulture Art Gallery and Events Place, Victoria Island, our crew met up with one of the most unique and upcoming Nigerian Female Fine Artist of the 21st Century; OgeChikwendu.

OgeChikwendu is an artist who closes generational divides by merging contemporary arts and age-old artefacts on innovative surfaces. She’s currently vying to become the first female ambassador of Fine Arts in next edition of the United Nation’s Women – in – Fine Arts competition.

The competition titled “Choosing the Next Professional Female Fine Artist in Nigeria” is slated to hold between the 13th and 15th of July 2022, at the Eko Hotels and Suites Lagos.

OgeChikwendu hails from Alor in Idemmili South LGA of Anambra State. In this interview, she speaks about her works and career. She gives a peek into her journey so far and tells the plans she has as she becomes the first UN Women’s female ambassador for Fine Arts in Nigeria.

Shebemoans the challenges faced by women in Fine Arts, comparing it to some of her personal experiences during preparation for the competition. She enjoins African women, African artists and the black race to be proud and showcase ‘their rich heritage in Arts to the world. She also decries the lack of sponsorship and international opportunities as limiting factors against local female artists.

Expatiating on the importance of sponsorship,she narrated how lucky she was to have a sponsor and used the opportunity to appreciate the endorsement of African Business gurus, Chief and Mrs. Chris Ekwenibe, the brains behind Onitsha South Urban Mass Transit, who took her up as a beneficiary after she presented a piece of Chief Ekwenibe’s mother at her funeral, last October, in Neni, Anambra State.

Excerpts from the interview:

Introduction

“My name is Oge Chikwendu, I’m a Fine Artist from both the University of Nigeria Nsukka and the Yaba College of Technology Lagos. I’m amongst the 8 contestants competing to become the first female ambassador of fine arts in this maiden edition of the United Nations Women-in-fine arts show.

The show has as theme: Depicting the current unity situation amongst cultures in Nigeria specifically using paintings and sculptures, so I have painted seven works and made three larger-than-life sized metal sculptures along these lines.

What she’ll do when she becomes a UN woman-in-fine arts ambassador

I hope to shed more light on the African woman’s struggle through arts. I also hope to organise more competitions for women artists to showcase their works and I’ll lend my voice to speak against discrimination and violence against women.

Major challenges of being a female artist in Nigeria 

Well, first, a lot of people don’t take you seriously so you need to work extra hard to prove yourself. Also funds and opportunities are more scarce and less available to women so, you need to strive harder.

Art as business venture in Nigeria

Everything about our country is arts. Our culture, our diversity, our religion and our language. There are a lot of exploring and tapping to do from our way of life as Nigerians. TheTiv woman dresses differently from the Igbo woman, yet they are both colourful and beautiful.There are many untold stories about our ways of life, so much that we can depict them using colours, forms and artefacts. That’s a business venture.

Advice for younger artists

Keep exploring, keep being innovative and create more stories of your history and heritage, using your immediate raw materials. Think globally, act locally. Someone is always watching.

Final words

I appreciate God for life, my parents for educating me, and my sponsor, Chief Chris Ekwenibe for supporting me on this journey. I hope to make you all proud. I have so much love for all of you.

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