News

June 18, 2022

I’ll speak against discrimination, violence against women if I become UN woman-in-fine arts ambassador – Oge Chikwendu

I’ll speak against discrimination, violence against women if I become UN woman-in-fine arts ambassador – Oge Chikwendu

Over the weekend In the very busy city of Lagos, at the Terra kulture Art Gallery and Events Place, in Victoria island, our Crew met up with one of the most unique and up coming Nigerian Female Fine Artist of the 21st Century; Oge Chikwendu

Oge Chikwendu 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.

Oge Chikwendu hails from Alor in Idemmili South LGA of Anambra State and in this interview, she speaks on her experience In Fine Arts and Arts Creativity.

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,
she bemoaned the challenges faced by women in Fine Arts, comparing it to some of her personal experiences during preparation for the competition.

She enjoined especially, African women, African artists, and the black race to be proud and showcase ‘their rich Herritage in Arts to the world’, while noting that the lack of sponsorship and the lack of international opportunities such as this competition limits a lot of local female artists from being under the beam light.

Speaking categorically, on the importance of sponsorship, She emphasized 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 strikingly resembling piece of Chief Ekwenibe’s mother at her funeral, last October, in Neni, Anambra State.

Read excerpts of the interesting interview below

Interview;

V: Good morning, can you please introduce yourself?

A: 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.

V: What kind of works are you going to exhibit?

A: The show has a theme “Depicting the current unity situation amongst cultures in Nigeria specifically using paintings and sculptures, so I have painted 7 works and made 3 larger-than-life sized metal sculptures along these lines.

V: It’s rare to see women who work with metal and make very big works, how do you cope?

A; Well you’ve met one today. Anything a man can do, a woman does even better if she puts her best in it (laughter)

V: You sound very confident about becoming the first and next fine arts ambassador, why?

A; By God’s grace I’ve put in a lot of work, time, resources and efforts, and I trust my hard work to pay off.

V; What do you plan to do when you become a UN woman-in-fine arts ambassador?

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

V; Wow, that’s a lot

A: Of course a lot is going wrong already. (laughs)

V: What are some major challenges of being a female artist in Nigeria and in preparation for such a competition

A: Well firstly, a lot of (men) 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.

V: Is arts a prospective business venture in Nigeria?

A: Of course it is. 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; the Tiv woman dresses different from the Igbo woman, yet they are both colourful and beautiful..there are many untold stories about our way of life…so much that we can depict using colours, forms and artefacts. That’s a business venture.

V; That sounds interesting. Any advice for younger artists?

A: 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.

V: Any last words; I just want to 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.