Artist Victor Ekpuk and friend at Morton Fine Art exhibition on 9/13
Artist Victor Ekpuk and friend at Morton Fine Art exhibition on 9/13

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today’s blog celebrates the artwork of Nigerian contemporary artist Victor Ekpuk. Last weekend, I started my Autumn Artist Weekends with a visit to Morton Fine Art to see a solo exhibition of Ekpuk’s artwork, “Reminiscences and Current Musings.”

Victor Ekpuk chatting with people at Morton Fine Art exhibition on 9/13
Victor Ekpuk chatting with people at Morton Fine Art exhibition on 9/13

My favorite piece in the exhibition is Idaresit (Joyful Heart). See photo below.

Idaresit (Joyful Heart) by Victor Ekpuk,  2004 - Photo Credit: Victor Ekpuk/Morton Fine Art
Idaresit (Joyful Heart) by Victor Ekpuk, 2004 – Photo Credit: Victor Ekpuk/Morton Fine Art

I discovered Ekpuk’s work this summer during one of my visits to Morton Fine Art. I was immediately drawn to his use of nsibidi “traditional” Nigerian graphic symbols and writing systems in his work. The symbols refer to abstract concepts, actions, or things. When they are used, they facilitate communication among peoples speaking different languages. Nsibidi is indigenous to the Ejagham peoples of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon in the Cross River region. Ibibio, Efik and Igbo people also use it. Click here to read more about the meaning of nsibidi.

Victor Ekpuk's artwork
Victor Ekpuk’s artwork

I love how Ekpuk’s work incorporates aspects of his ancestry. It makes me think that the spirit of his ancestors are embedded into his artwork. The placement of the nsibidi symbols in his works creates soulful, lyrical poetry that speaks silently to my spirit. Perhaps that’s why the poet in me feels so connected to his work!

Victor Ekpuk artwork at Morton Fine Art
Victor Ekpuk artwork at Morton Fine Art

If you are in the D.C. area, I encourage you to visit the exhibition at Morton Fine Art. It ends October 8.  The Artist Talk will be held on Saturday, September 28 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!

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