TAFETA is honored to present the first exhibition in the Middle East of Nigerian-American artist, Victor Ekpuk. Showing at Art Dubai Contemporary 2018, the exhibition will include a never-before-seen set of sculptures and works from three of Ekpuk’s pivotal series’: the Santa Fe Suite; Head series; and Composition series.
The Santa Fe Suite was aptly named after Ekpuk’s artist residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute in New Mexico in 2013. Works from this series investigate Native American visual culture and discover similarities between its graphic systems and symbols to those in Africa.
Ekpuk’s Head works were similarly inspired by his four-month residency in Nigeria, where he was struck by local idioms in which “head” referred to a person’s mind or mood. This resulted in several sculptural paintings on wood panels.
The Composition series extended from a period in the artist’s career that focused on drawing as an independent genre and resulted in large scale works that explored African writing and graphics for their visual aesthetics as abstract forms. Several works from this series are now in permanent collections at the Smithsonian Museum, Hood Museum, Arkansas Art Center and Krannert Art Museum.
Notably, two works from Ekpuk’s solo exhibition Auto-Graphics at the Krannert Art Museum in the USA will be included in the show: Guardian of the Pueblos (part of the Santa Fe Suite); and Composition no. 14.
TAFETA will also launch a newly produced catalogue of the artist’s museum presence, showcasing Ekpuk’s better-known, large scale, site-specific installations.
Finally, this exhibition breaks new ground in Ekpuk’s career and positions his work in dialogue with Arabic culture whose calligraphic writing system has inspired and influenced his designs for decades.
About the Artist
Inspired by the “Nsibidi” writing systems from the southeastern part of Nigeria, and borrowing heavily from other indigenous writing systems such as Arabic calligraphy, Victor Ekpuk’s artistic communication through graphic expressiveness has compelled and engaged curators, arts institutions and collectors from across the United States, Africa and Europe. He is renowned for his large-scale, glyph-like paintings and drawings that explore the human condition, and he draws upon a wide spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses.
Born in 1964, Victor Ekpuk is based in Washington, DC. He obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from University, Ife, Nigeria in 1989, followed by a career in the 1990s as an editorial cartoonist and illustrator in Nigeria’s former national newspaper, the Daily Times.
His works have been featured in exhibitions at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris; 12th Havana Biennial; Dakar Biennial; The Tang Museum; Fowler Museum; Museum of Art and Design; and the first Johannesburg Biennial. His artworks are also in several prestigious permanent collections including the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African Art, The World Bank, Newark Museum, Hood Museum, and Krannert Art Museum.