VICTOR EKPUK (1964) was born in Nigeria where he received his BA in Fine and Applied Arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria 1989. He currently resides in Washing DC, USA.
Ekpuk's mark-making practices emerged from his exploration and re-imagining of Nsibidi ideographic and pictographic writing systems. Although Ekpuk employs fewer Nsibidi symbols in his recent work, embracing a wider spectrum of meaning rooted in African and global contemporary art discourse, the aesthetic concept, that reduces forms to their barest essentials, continues to inspire his approach.
Ekpuk's forms enlivened by intricate pseudo-glyphs, and his use of bold primary colours heightens the sacredness and primordial energy that his work unconsciously evokes. His works provide an interesting study in the relationship between longstanding art traditions and the dynamism of artistic language.
“The subject matter of my work deals with the human condition explained through themes that are both universal and specific: family, gender, politics, culture and Identity” (Ekpuk)
In his new solo body of work, Portraits he continues to draw from Africana aesthetics and philosophies, creating paintings, fine drawings and metaphysical environments through ephemeral drawing performances.
"According to African philosophy, the head is the seat of consciousness and memory, and our lives on earth are guided by its disposition. These portraits ponder these notions while expressing my interest in consciousness as well as individual and collective identities. I am intrigued by the nature of humans' self-knowledge as layers of memories that are constantly being transposed, appropriated and imagined. I believe that our identities are essentially sum of past and present memories that are shaped by circumstances.These portraits are perhaps a search for the essence of our selves." (Ekpuk)
He has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions at institutions such as the Smithsonian, National Museum of African Art, Washington, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York and the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, and his works are housed in international public and private collections.
Ekpuk has participated in biennales; the 1st Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa, 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, China, 11th Dak’Art Biennale, Senegal, and most recently the 12th Havana Biennale. He has also been featured in publications; African Art Since 1980 by Okwui Enwenzor and Chika Okeke and Nka Journal of African Contemporary Art, amongst others.