Arabanco: The Journey
Theodora Adaku Ikpa is a creative jeweller and metal designer who graduated from the Creative Arts Department at the University of Lagos, where she majored in jewellery design and metal art. She designs and creates jewellery in all forms and media including, beads, gold, silver, brass, bronze, stone, bone, wood and re-purposed objects.
In 2013, she created some custom-made jewellery used in the Nigerian movie, Dazzling Mirage directed and produced by celebrated African filmmaker, Tunde Kelani. She spent the whole of the following year in training under experienced and renowned goldsmiths, metal artists and bronze casters at the famous Igun Street in Benin City, where she later participated in the art project Whose Centenary from December 6 to 7. It featured nine accomplished artists from Nigeria with Ikpa selected as one of seven emerging artists to participate as volunteers in Jelili Atiku’s live art performance during the event. Ikpa also taught bead making to the residents of Igun Street, and went on to hold her first exhibition in 2015 in Lagos.
Ikpa is currently working on a new body of work titled ARABANCO: The Journey, a series depicting her experience as a student in Benin and Lagos, where she was exposed to the immense possibilities of metal and the jewellery arts. The artist coined the word ARABANCO, which signifies fun, adventure and exploration. The new collection portrays and demonstrates her openness in stretching her abilities to create art and jewellery that are both relevant and functional. This willingness comes from the realization that every discovery made is a journey hence the theme of the series. She believes in the power of functional art as a medium to pass down cultural values and moral lessons from one generation to the next. Ikpa is inspired by women and her varied experiences, as well as the rich Nigerian culture and how these sources can all be reflected in telling the stories of ordinary people. The collection comprises of hand crafted jewellery, drawings, mixed media installations and metal works using aluminium plates, metal foil, cast metal and wire work in copper, brass and iron. Every artwork and piece of jewellery begins with an idea, which she exhausts until she is satisfied with the final outcome. With ARABANCO, she explores different media available as metal art and brings to light, the possibilities in jewellery as wearable art. Her exhibition is slated for late 2017.
Ikpa aspires to be one of the finest jewellers and metal designers Africa has ever produced. By exhausting every creative means possible, she aims to add value to her society and hopes in future to give back by training others.
January 12, 2018
December 21, 2017