Friday 9 September 2011

Onyeka iBE

Ibe...returning with big dreams
By Tajudeen Sowole
 Friday, 09 September 2011 00:00
 AFTER contributing his works to the last 2011 MOCA Gala Art Auction, in April, for fund raising in support of Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, U.S-based Nigerian artist, Onyeka Ibe, continues his tour exhibition in the country as part of preparation for a show here later this year.
Little Vilage in Ochre, oil on canvas 16 x 16 by Onyeka Ibe
At Chasen Galleries Of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia, Ibe exhibits in a solo on September 15, 2011. He said, these shows may be the last and preparation for a visit to Nigeria for an exhibition at Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos in November.
One of the galleries, Huff Harrington Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia, where the artist exhibits from September 29, 2011, says it has been admiring Ibe’s work for several years.
“We are impressed with the rich colors and impasto texture of his abstracted landscapes and the soft, evocative beauty of his figurative work,” state managers of the gallery.
On what inspires him, the artist said, “the beauty I see in every existence is my inspiration to paint.  Painting is the only way that I can express myself. I work toward creating paintings that tell stories of beauty, and believe that the power of nature and beauty is enough to humble any human being.  There is so much pleasure when I can make people be in harmony with their surroundings.”
The gallery describes Ibe as “our rock star, because of all the press he has received.  Everyone is interested in how this talented young artist grew up in a loving family, and through sheer talent, hard work and determination, found his way alone in America, where he has now become an artist with a successful and critical following.”
Huff Harrington noted that Ibe has traveled extensively throughout the U.S., South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa to show his works, participating as well in seminars and fine arts workshops. “His work has been recognised nationally and internationally through numerous awards in juried shows and competitions and has been featured in major art publications, museums, private collections, and galleries around the world.
”In 2002, the Atlanta Journal Constitution described the artist as one of the most exciting young painters to emerge from Sub-Saharan Africa since the 1990’s. He looks for inspiration in the natural and humanistic tradition of contemporary realism and abstractions.”
Other exhibitions of the painter before his break for a home visit are: September 17, to October 15, 2011, at Thornwood Gallery Houston, Texas; October 7, 2011, Artjaz Gallery, Philadelphia; October 28 to 31, 2011, Toronto International Art Fair (TIAF).
Also from December 1 to 4, 2011, his work will be part of another art fair, Art Basel, Miami Beach.
The artist showed at Harbour Gallery, Canada, last November in major solo titled Structure and Forms.
IBE was trained here at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), and later moved to the U.S. where he got his MFA at Georgia State University.
Starting newly in the U.S. must have brought some fear of failure or confidence and complacence. “Though it was a new experience, I just had the feeling that there was nothing to lose,” he recalled.
His high rating in the US – after winning the 2006 ArtExpo New York award – seemed to have offered huge prospects. He noted that it helped him to have his footings.

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