Art is a universal means of expression, often reflecting the times and cultures in which it emerges. Nigerian artist Ekene Emeka Maduka is a striking example of the fusion of tradition and modernity in contemporary African art. Her works reflect the cultural richness of her country while incorporating modern techniques and materials. In this article, we explore how the Nigerian artist uses tradition to create contemporary artworks.
Ekene Emeka Maduka was born in Nigeria in 1996. She grew up in Kano in a family with a strong taste for beauty and the materialization of beautiful forms. With a father who was an architect and a mother who was an interior decorator, the young artist’s professional orientation naturally turned towards the art world. The contemporary artist obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba and began her artistic journey.
Ekene Emeka Maduka’s works are inspired by her Nigerian heritage and include themes such as displacement and identity reconstruction. Indeed, her experience of life in her homeland is clearly evident in her work. Taking a feminist turn, she continues her “self-study” through her work “Look it’s Just Blood (2018)“. This is a self-portrait by the Nigerian artist, whose overview is a controversy of the submissive representation of the 19th-century Odalisque woman. These creations are a true visual narrative, exploring individuality and self-portraiture, and translating these lived experiences and moments to the public. Viewers can recognize the stories told by these works, or at best identify with them.
Through the characters in these paintings, the Nigerian artist manages to establish an unsettling visual contact with the public. This visual attraction enables viewers to study in detail the messages and stories conveyed by these works of art. Ekene Emeka Maduka is best known for his use of the self-portrait. This reflects his need to tell his own story and his desire to be part of the ongoing discussions on creating an equitable society.
Through her art, contemporary artist Ekene Emeka Maduka pursues her study of self-identification and community identity. Combining her Nigerian heritage with modern techniques, she creates a unique contemporary art based on the prism of her own experiences. These works are a perfect blend of the many elements that have contributed to the formation of her personal identity. At a glance, you’ll find her Nigerian heritage, culture, darkness and femininity. She currently resides in Winnipeg, Canada, where she continues to refine the contours of her modern-contemporary art.