Nigerian Artists Present Works At Denison Lecture/Slide Show
Posted: April 10, 2006
Two Nigerian artists will visit Denison University for a short residency this spring. Chika Okeke-Agulu and Marcia Kure will be visiting several classes and will critique student art works. The couple, who visited Denison previously in 2003, also will give a public talk and slide show at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday (April 20) in the Cleveland Hall Annex. Okeke-Agulu will present "Homeland Drawings and Poems" followed by Kure's presentation "Post-Partum Drawings and Other Recent Work." Their visit is sponsored by the art department and by the Vail Visiting Artist program.
Okeke-Agulu is a member of the Penn State art faculty teaching classes in classical, modern and contemporary African art history and theory. He has had articles and reviews published in African Arts, the Glendora Review and in Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, which he now serves as a senior editor. Last fall, he and Kure had a joint exhibition at St. Lawrence University titled "Homeland, Wonderland: Drawings by Chika Okeke-Agulu and Marcia Kure." Okeke-Agulu also is a poet. "My poems reflect upon events in both Nigeria and the United States," he says. "Of course, poetry may not always be the best medium for explaining visual art, but it adds a new layer of reading and understanding to the images."
He earned a bachelor's degree in sculpture and art history and a master of fine arts degree in painting at the University of Nigeria, a master's in African art history at the University of South Florida and his doctorate in African art history at Emory University. He won the Dean's Teaching Fellowship at Emory as well as several competitive research and scholarship awards.
Many of the images of both artists are meditations or statements on specific social and political experiences and phenomena, particularly those associated with war and military dictatorship.
Kure's works are inspired by African cave paintings, woven and printed textiles, bodypainting and a wide variety of intra-Nigerian cultures and influences. A graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Kure also attended art residency programs in Germany and has had solo exhibitions in The Hague, The Netherlands, Lagos, Nigeria, Bayreuth, Germany and the University of South Florida. She has participated in 27 group shows and earned residencies from Artists in Residence International, Inc., Atlanta, the Contemporary Art Museum at the University of South Florida and at the Kulturkreis Gersthofen - Art Arc, Bayreuth, Germany. She was awarded the Uche Okeke Prize for Drawing in 1994, the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists in 1999 and was included in the Multichoice Africa "African Artists of the Future" calendar for 2002.
Kure's works often deal with issues of gender and identity. Some works have been influenced by "uli," a painting and drawing tradition practiced by the Igbo women of eastern Nigeria. Other abstracted textile paintings capture a rhythmic, multilayered quality found in the complex color arrangements in traditional "Kente" fabrics. In an artists statement about her work she wrote: "cloth. texture. connections. disconnection. unveil. deconstruct. rip apart. rearrange. heritage. history. myth."
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville -- Nigerian Artists Slide Show and Lectures; Chika Okeke-Agulu will present "Homeland Drawings and Poems" and Marcia Kure will present "Post-Partum Drawings and Other Recent Works"; 6:30 p.m., Thursday (April 20), Room 104, Cleveland Hall Annex (201 N. Mulberry St.). Free and open to the public. Call 740-587-6596 to confirm information.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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