Uche Okeke honoured on 86th posthumous birthday

Uche Okeke receives posthumous honour

Late painter and poet, Uche Okeke, has been honoured on his 86th posthumous birthday.

Okeke, who played a pioneering role in evolving a fine art curriculum at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, died on January 5, 2016.

Ugoma Adegoke-led Bloom Arts in concert with the Asele Institute and Iwalewa Books on April 30 gathered artists and thinkers, art collectors and enthusiasts, as well as writers and creatives of various stripes in honour of Okeke at the Bloom Art Studios in Victoria Island.

The 2-in-1 event witnessed the presentation of Uche Okeke’s seminal book, “Art in Development – A Nigerian Perspective” which was recently re-published by Iwalewa House.

The book was first published in 1982 by Asele Archives.

Author and journalist, Toni Kan, reviewed the book while artists, Victor Ehikhamenor and Chinwe Uwatse, shared memories of their encounters with Okeke.

Adegoke declared open a small exhibition of limited edition prints by Okeke which she curated. They were mostly drawings which featured in his 1971 book “Tales of Land of Death: Igbo Folktales.”

The exhibition will run from April 30 to May 19 and can be viewed on appointment.

Okeke was a leading light of the Zaria Art Society and a tireless advocate for a new aesthetic paradigm especially in the post-colonial era.

His theory of “natural synthesis” was a guiding principle and he appropriated Asele, the mythical Uli artist, as his “patron saint” with the earth goddess, Ana, as fountain and creative forge.

His practice was influenced by his Igbo tradition which also informed his ethno-aesthetics.