Victor Ehikhamenor

Exhibitions

Biography

Victor Ehikhamenor was born in Udomi-Uwessan, Edo State, Nigeria in 1970 and lives and works between Lagos, Nigeria and Maryland, USA.

Ehikhamenor is a multi-faceted artist whose practice encompasses painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and installation, as well as unique perforated works on paper. Hailing from a small village in Edo State, the historic seat of the Benin Empire, he draws inspiration from the dual aesthetic and spiritual traditions which infused his upbringing, using imagery and symbolism from both Edo traditional religion and Catholicism. His signature patterning is a frenetic mélange of gestural abstraction and stylised forms, revealing faces, objects and writing systems. This patterning is used in everything from paintings to photographs to immersive installations, producing a hypnotic experience, a sense of both meditative repetition and an ongoing narrative being told.

Storytelling is an important element of the artist’s practice, whether the magic realism of memory and nostalgia, or biting criticism of history and politics. Ehikhamenor is also a published writer, not only of fiction but also of critical essays in various academic journals, magazines and newspapers including the New York Times and Washington Post. He has also worked in journalism, as creative director and columnist at Next Newspapers in Lagos, as well as serving as CEO and editor-in-chief of the Nigerian national newspaper the Daily Times. His book, Excuse Me! (2012, Parresia Publishers), a satirical non-fiction look at Nigerian life, is a recommended text at two Nigerian universities.

The artist has designed book covers for award-winning authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and collaborated on a fashion line with Nigerian designer Ituen Basi which was featured in Vogue Italia (2013). In 2015, he started an initiative called Ink Not Blood in order to promote peace and discourage the violence which often accompanies the electoral process in his home country.

Since gaining his Bachelor of Arts in English and Literature from Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria, in 1991, he has been awarded two Masters degrees from the University of Maryland, USA, in Technology Management (2003) and an MFA (2008). He has received numerous awards for both his writing and art, as well as fellowships from organisations such as the Rockefeller Foundation (USA, 2016), the Nirox Foundation (South Africa, 2016) and the Norman Mailer Centre (USA, 2014).

Solo exhibitions include Paperwork: Works on paper at Constant Capital Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria (2015), Chronicles of The Enchanted World at Gallery of African Art, London, UK (2014), Artist Experience at Whitespace, Ikoyi, Lagos (2011), and Invasion of Privacy at Jennings Gallery, Washington, D.C. (2008).

In 2017, he was one of four artists chosen to exhibit as part of the first Nigerian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. His work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions and other biennales, including the 5th Mediations Biennale in Poznan, Poland (2016), the 12th Dak’art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal (2016), Biennale Jogja XIII, Indonesia (2015), as well as being shown at the 56th Venice Biennale as part of the German Pavilion (2015).

Education

2008

MFA, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA.

2004

MSc, Technology Management, University Of Maryland, University College, Maryland, USA.

1991

BA, English and Literature, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2017

In the Kingdom of This World, Tyburn Gallery, London, UK.

2015

Paperwork: Works on paper, Constant Capital Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria.

2014

Chronicles Of The Enchanted World, Gallery of African Art, London, UK.

In The Lions Lair: Photographing Wole Soyinka, Ake Arts and Books Festival, Abeokuta, Nigeria.

2013

Amusing The Muse, Temple Muse, Lagos, Nigeria.

2012

Crossing the Line, Bloom Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria.

2011

Entrances & Exits: In search of not forgetting, CCA, Lagos, Nigeria.

Artist Experience, Whitespace, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria.

2009

Mirrors and Mirages, Terra Kulture Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria.

2008

Invasion of Privacy, Jennings Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA.

2007

Labyrinth of Memories, Didi Museum, Lagos, Nigeria.

2006

Beyond The River, Grenada Embassy, Washington, D.C., USA.

2005

Body Language, Utopia Art/Grill, Washington, D.C., USA.

Divine Intervention, Howard University A J Blackburn Center Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA.

Talking Walls, BB&T Bank, NW Washington, D.C., USA.

2004

Songs and Stories: Moonlight Delight, Utopia Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA.

2001

Discovering the gods, Monroe Gallery, Arts Club of Washington, Washington, D.C., USA.

2000

Spirits In Dialogue, The Brazilian-American Cultural Institute Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA.

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017

UNTITLED, Tyburn Gallery, London, UK.

Lines, Motions and Ritual, Magnan Metz, New York, USA.

Nigerian Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy.

Significations, Provincial Centre of Arts and Design, Havana, Cuba.

2016

5th Mediations Biennale, Poznan, Poland.

error x, Ostrale Contemporary Art Festival, Dresden, Germany.

12th Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar, Senegal.

A Place in Time, Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park, Johannesburg, South Africa.

2015

Displacement, German Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy.

Biennale Jogja XIII, Equator #3 2015, Indonesia.

2014

ARENA, Center of Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland.

2013

Nigeria Now, Ake Arts & Book Festival World Bank Exhibition, Nigeria.

2012

Post-colonial photo studio, Action Field Kodra, Thessaloniki, Greece.

2008

Black Creativity, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL, USA.

2007

Rhythms & Blues, Sarah Silberman Gallery, Montgomery College, MD, USA.

2004

Memories: 2Griot, Joy Smith Gallery, Memphis, TN, USA.

2003

Symbols and Metaphors, Underwood Studio, Chevy Chase, MD, USA.

2002

Home of African Concepts Gallery, Kent, WA, USA.

2001

Patuxent Art League Members Juried Show, Laurel, MD, USA.

Same Tree, Different Roots, Howard University AJ Blackburn Center Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA.

1999

National Geographic Society Staff Show, Washington D.C., USA.

Selected writings by the Artist

2014

Confronting an Empty Canvas, AfricanWriter.com

Walking with Wole Soyinka, Essay, Africasacountry.com

Blindness at The Top, Essay, New York Times.

2013

Excuse Me!,  Collection Of Selected Essays, Parresia Publishers, Lagos, Nigeria.

Africas voice, Nigerias conscience, Essay. New York Times.

Is Nigeria At War?, CNN Online.

2010

A Picture from Ireland, AGNI magazine, Boston University, USA.

2008

Of Money, Friends, and Greed, Anthology of short stories, Hodder Publishers, UK.

Riding Monkey with Pako, Per Contra magazine, USA.

Passport to Heaven, Farafina Magazine, Lagos, Nigeria.

2007

Glory Halleluya and Woman in Trance, Stylus Magazine, University of Maryland, USA.

2006

Who Will Bury the Dead, Wasafiri Magazine, University of London, UK.

Residencies

2016

Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship

Nirox Foundation Residency, Johannesburg, South Africa

Greatmore Residency, Cape Town, South Africa

2015

Casa Zia Lina, Elba, Italy

2014

Norman Mailer Fellowship for Writing

Biography & Press

2017

Enekwachi, Agwu, In Conversation wit Victor Ehikhamenor: The purity of Intuition as a Force for Originality, contemporaryand.com, 1 August 2017.

Agnew, Ellen, Biography of the Forgotten, artsouthafrica.com, 25 May 2017.

Thackara, Tess, Despite Obstacles, African Countries Shine at the Venice Biennale, artsy.com, 24 May 2017

Azimi, Roxana, A la Biennale de Venise, les pavillons africains portent l’art au cœur des plaies, lemonde.fr, 18 May 2017

Idowu, Torera, First Ever Nigerian Pavilion Opens at the Venice Biennale, edition.cnn.com, 12 May 2017

Aimufua, Jessica, ‘How About Now?’, contemporaryand.com, 11 May 2017

Oluwatobi, Nigerians in Venice Biennale – ‘How About Now’, businessdayonline.com, 2 May 2017

Nigerian visual art set to make history at Venice BiennaleThe Guardian Nigeria, 7 April 2017

2016

Muoka, Chidera, Victor Ehikhamenor - Reviving the Culture of Art, The Guardian Nigeria, 10 July 2016.

Egbedi, Hadassah, Victor Ehikhamenor: The Innovative Maverick of Contemporary African Art,  venturesafrica.com, 11 May 2016.

2015

Bolshaw, Liz, Victor Ehikhamenor: Shaped by memory and tribal tradition, Financial Times, ft.com, 27 March 2015

Nigerian Artist Calls for Peace through Paintings Ahead Of Polls, CGTN Africa, youtube.com, 22 March 2015

Nigeria artist's aim: Ink, not blood, BBC World News - Africa, 4 March 2015

2014

Nigerian artist Victor Ehikhamenor's canvas sculptures, BBC World News – Africa, 27 May 2014

Iduma, Emmanuel, The Art of Victor Ehikhamenor, Africa is a Country, 30 April 2014

Gresle, Yvette, Victor Ehikhamenor, Africanah.org, 5 June 2014

Antonacci, Celia, Victor Ehikhamenor (2014) Legendado, vimeo.com, 16 July 2014

2012

How love letters made Nigeria's Victor Ehikhamenor, BBC World News Africa, 30 November 2012

2011

ENTRANCES / EXITS - In Search of Not Forgetting by Victor Ehikhamenor, Next TV, youtube.com, 19 May 2011

Awards

2008

Leon Forrest Africana Scholar Award

2006

Familiar Streets Writing Contest Award for “A Beautiful Freedom” by Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival, Washington, DC.

2003

Highly Commended Award for “The Supreme Command”, Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, London, UK

2000

1st Place, Arts Club of Washington Juried Exhibition. Juror, Dr. Kimberly A. Jones, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

1999

Finalist for “Palace Dwellers” The Artist’s Magazine Art Competition

Collections

 

Nirox Sculpture Park, Cradle Of Humankind, South Africa

Ventures Park, Abuja, Nigeria

American Embassy, Abuja, Nigeria

Access Bank, Lagos, Nigeria

Keystone Bank, Lagos Nigeria

Aluko and Oyebode Law Firm, Lagos, Nigeria