Ada Udechukwu: Particles in Motion
Presently on view at The Wheatbaker and curated by SMO Contemporary Art is Particles in Motion, by award-winning artist and writer Ada Udechukwu.
Udechukwu returns to Nigeria’s art scene with this exhibition, which features 36 new drawings and 10 poems. Her work is fueled by her exploration of bi-racial identity, and connecting with otherness, alongside universal themes of love, community, and the need for connection, especially during the pandemic, which has deeply isolated populations across the globe.
Particles in Motion explores Udechukwu’s connection to her cultural roots; an ode to the diverse layers of memories, from her youth growing up in the rolling hills of Enugu and Nsukka, through her artistic journey, to finally settling in Los Angeles where she lives today. Her art and poetry convey a sense of pure instinct, spontaneity, and unfiltered raw expression of emotions. The rounded forms and patterned, undulating lines, create a universe of emotional connections in which we gently embrace the physical, emotional, and spiritual arrivals and departures of this thing called life.
Ada Udechukwu (born 1960) holds a BA in English and Literature from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Bennington College, Bennington Vermont. Since the early 1980’s Udechukwu’s creative voice gained momentum through her textile creations, her pen and ink drawings and watercolour paintings, alongside her writing. Two years after completing her MFA, Udechukwu was shortlisted for the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing, for her short story, Night Bus.
Particles in Motion draws us into a complex world of nuance, flow and depth. Her lines and voids, deeply influenced by the traditional Igbo art of uli, draw “emphasis on the brevity of statement, linearity, abstraction, and balancing of positive and negative space in composition.”
“Ada Udechukwu has been associated with the Nsukka School, the epochal artistic efflorescence that emerged at the University of Nigeria during the late twentieth century…where other artists used their drawing as commentary and critique of Nigerian postcolonial condition,” commented Chika Okeke-Agulu, Professor of African and African Diaspora Art at Princeton University. “ Udechukwu is more introspective, frequently questioning her relationships with her internal and external worlds. In her hands, thus, art (and poetry) are readily available and effective tools of self-analysis and enunciation.”
“We are delighted to host Ada Udechukwu’s homecoming, as one of the celebrated pioneer female artists from the famous Nsukka school,” commented Mosun Ogunbanjo, Wheatbaker Director. “We continue to be committed to providing an important art platform for leading and emerging talent based in Africa and the Diaspora.”
“We have waited too long to welcome Udechukwu back to her native land, and she has not disappointed,” concluded Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, the exhibition curator and Founder of SMO Contemporary Art. “Her artistry has crystalised into a complex, elegant, and rhythmic synergy of word, line and colour. We present her drawings alongside poems elegantly framed, ensuring that visitors appreciate the distinct identity of her words, which are inextricably linked to her lyrical works of art.”
Particles in Motion is supported by the Wheatbaker and Louis Guntrum wines and runs until 31 July 2021.
June 21, 2021