Ndidikanma Emefiele, a mixed-media Nigerian Painter considers herself a modern woman doing contemporary arts. In this interview, she tells us of her love for dancing, sunglasses and shopping. Emefiele is based in Abuja but she’s currently living and studying in London, UK. Visit Nike Art Centre in Lekki and Red Door Gallery on Victoria Island to see her works.
Describe how you work or start creating an idea?
There is no methodical approach to how I work. An idea can be conceived in a conversation. Through images, moving and static. Visuals of all sort and it just grows from there. These Ideas changes in the process. I don’t always stick to the original plan. I literally just allow the pieces lead as long as I’m having fun with it. Of course with good music in the background. What I’m working on dictates what rhythm I want to feel. At the initial stage I could do a lot better with some absolute quiet till I can get it all out of my head and I’m at a comfortable level then I turn up the volume.
What aspect of life are you portraying and documenting with your art?
I always project the women. I’m Largely focused on the female identity. Engaging them in a story telling that reclaims lost ideals about African women. Dealing with the assertiveness of woman in the different spheres of social, political and religious activities. I like to bring back value to the lost female body, promoting and re-framing her image. I engage in free flowing fantasies that are derived from facts. My Art investigates the female body as a chronicle of the complex visual contradictions proliferating urban cultures at emergent capitals of modernity.
How many solo exhibitions have you done since you became an artist?
My first and second solo exhibitions were in Abuja at the Transcorp Hilton in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Then in 2014 at Nike Art Centre in Lagos. Currently working on my 4th planned for next year at a Museum in the United States. I will share the details with you when it’s finalized.
What else do you do aside being an artist?
I love to dance and design clothes. Fashion plays a key role in a lot of my pieces. I will delve into Fashion at some point. I was in a dance group in my undergraduate. Not a lot of my friends are familiar with that aspect of my life. I’m looking to join an informal dance school here just for my love of dancing.
Is this what you do when you take a break from painting?
When I’m not painting, I find myself on shopping sites. Too many of them online, its ridiculous. Every button you click takes you to another one. Then I do some reading – reading two of Maya Angelou’s at the moment, I do have a line-up. I go swimming. Then also travel were I get to shop a little more and back to the studio where I commune with my spirit.
“I’m a glasses addict. So my sunglasses, then my iPad and hot stiletto shoes are always items I cant do without. I don’t care very much for mobile phones. It’s a burden sometimes, replying chats especially.”
How has travelling and living in
London at the moment influenced your art?
I can’t say I’m well travelled. I have been to over five countries and the only place I have really lived for a long period outside Nigeria is London. Being here in London is giving me a new perspective on Arts. I have seen artworks that I would have considered unfinished in exhibitions here but still they had their own aesthetics. I guess I’m starting to open up, go broader but not necessarily detract from my source.
Which three artists do you most identify with their works?
Three artists I’m currently looking at and loving are Wangechi Mutu, Gustav Klimt and Freda khalo.
What do you consider your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement is waking up to do what I enjoy the most and call it a profession, which also takes care of my needs.
Emefiele’s works will be at the Art Fair in Cape Town from 26th February – 1st of March and also at Art15 Fair, in Olympia, London from 21st -23rd May 2015.