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Obodo explores the charcoal option

Published by The Nation on Sun, 21 Feb 2021

Professor Eva Obodo is a mixed media artist, academic and sculptor. He teaches Sculpture and Art Education at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). In this piece Edozie Udeze takes a look at his next solo exhibition in Lagos titled The New Nsukka School, a series to explore the use of charcoals and jute fibre to dissect culture and set a new global agenda.EVA Obodo works in mixed media-painting and sculptures. This is the medium he has been noted for all his professional career. All over the art world, his art takes a form that is unique to him, a signature that speaks volumes and which always defines who he is. It is a signature that keeps his art world apart from his peers.According to Oliver Enwonwu online newsletter release detailing Obodos artistic exploits, the artist will be doing a solo exhibition in Lagos as from the 25th of this month. The show which will last till 11th March, is titled the New Nsukka School. It is a series Obodo and others have embarked upon to sensitise the art world on the paramount nature of the type of art being explored, exhibited and taught at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). The series purposely dwells on the pieces that reexamine the total concepts and materials practices that surround, characterize and define Fine Arts at the UNN.For Obodo, he focuses essentially on fibre and charcoal to bring out the inner contours of fine arts. With this concept as his medium, he creates relief paintings and free standing sculptures. These emanate from processes of wrapping, tying and bundling concepts. The uniqueness these combinations produce gives Obodo his special place in contemporary art world.He once said: my work talks about global community, where you have individuals, you have families. Then you have nations, before you begin to talk of the global community. Each piece of charcoal is tied independent of the other. And as they are independent, they also collectively form a whole.In his own, he incorporates discarded materials like charcoals and jute fibre. Together, he fuses these pieces that dwell on different cultures of the world. Part of the narratives he thus creates hover on the exploits of man, his cultures and what he stands to gain therefrom.His narratives totally evoke the seemingly complex world where socio-political and economic tendencies tend to stare man in the face. These artistic structures of charcoals and fibres hinge on contemporary cultures of the world and then help penetrate the inner frame of the society.A Professor of Fine and Applied Arts at the UNN, Obodo teaches Sculpture and Art Education where he finds ample time to explore the rudimental values of these discarded objects. For him, no object or material is totally a waste so long as it can be used to form art. He has had several solo and group shows home and abroad. He has held two solos at the Art house, Lagos before. These were in 2015 and 2019. The titles of the shows included Ngwugwu (Wrapped backages), and lineby-line. Each exhibition explored cultures across the globe, but with a bit more focus on Nigeria.He has also showcased at the famous Osaka Trienniale (Japan), the Dakart Senegal and some other places in Europe and America. In 2013, he was a recipient of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow Award. It was a recognition of an artist whose pieces curry for world attention.Born in 1963 in Enugu, he reconnects the past with the present. In the end he succeeds in bridging the gap between the old and the new. Therefore his Lagos outing next week will further explore these sentiments and probably set new targets for cultural renaissance across the globe, across historical divide.
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