Friday 28 December 2012

Tribute to portrait colossus, Chukwuogo-Roy

When Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy (M.B.E) passed on early this week, a great portraitist of international repute was lost.
Sources said she died in her U.K-base after battling cancer over the last three years. 

Chinwe… Brushing Kings and Lords 

(First published, January 8-14, 2006)

WHAT does it really take to get the Kings and Lords sit before a painter?

United Kingdom-based Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy, a native of Awka, Eastern Nigeria, Chinwe gives an insight into her approach when working on a portrait at that level of commission: "It is not something to be undertaken lightly and a successful commission will involve time and effort on both sides, as well as establishing a good personal rapport." She has a way of putting her subjects at ease adding that she likes to chat whilst working so that she can study and record how a face animates and changes during conversation, for instance. 
Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy (Self-portrait) 
The commissioning process begins with a meeting between artist and a sitter (the subject),  (or artist, sitter and commissioning committee), to determine what type of portrait is required, she states. 

"The next stage is the first sitting. A pastel study may be completed in one sitting, whereas a full length oil portrait will involve several sittings, sometimes involving the artist in making drawings, working on preparatory studies in oils and pastels and sometimes taking photographs to be used as a source of reference for the final work."
  But the approach is a bit more challenging when it comes to group portrait, she explains. Chukwuogo-Roy recommends making individual studies of each sitter before gathering the group together as a whole.              

She is a leading portraitist and one of the Nigerian artists in the Diaspora who are making strong impact across the world. has exhibited widely and her works are represented in public and private collections in America, France, Grenada, Holland, Kenya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, U.A.E. and the U.K.
 Chukwuogo-Roy has made name in painting portraits of leaders across the world, the list of which include portrait of Her Majesty, The Queen of England and Head of The Commonwealth. 

Some of the high profile portrait commissions in her credit include that of President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Norwich City Football Club, Mr Geoffrey Watling; Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Secretary-General of The Commonwealth; Lord Mayor of Norwich, Cllr Derek Wood; Kriss Akabusi, athlete and TV personality, for whom she also undertook a series of large paintings on the theme of the African Diaspora. She was also commissioned by Martin Keown to paint Arsenal’s Highbury Stadium. 
 Chukwuogo-Roy 's portraits vary widely. These range from formal boardroom and academic portraits, to private commission such as family.
  She uses a range of media, but prefers to paint in oils on canvas or drawing in pastels on coloured paper.
A recent biography of the painter, published by Tamarind, is now part of the National Curriculum by children in the UK.

In 2003, Chinwe addressed the European Council Committee in Paris on Contemporary African Art and Artists. Later that year, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of East Anglia. 
 Chukwuogo-Roy was born in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria and moved to the UK in 1975. She took up painting as a profession in 1988 and is now based in Suffolk. Much of her work is in oils, etchings, monotypes and pastels. Her subjects range from portraiture, still life and landscape, to pictures, which capture the traditions and cultures of the African continent. 

Her recent work culminated in two exceptionally successful events in the last 2 years: the Celebrate art exhibition specially organised in December 2003 for the Queen's visit for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGOM) in Abuja for which she painted a portrait of Chief Obasanjo. Along over 60 pieces of her works, Chinwe displayed the works of six other Nigerian artists. She also started a major educational programme to encourage art in Nigerian schools.

In September 2003, the artist was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of East Anglia. 
  few of her exhibition include a major solo exhibition at Didi Museum, 2000 Lagos; solo exhibition at Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge 2004;   Seeing in Colours, a major exhibition of new works at The Gallery in Cork Street, London, UK,

In 1975, she left Nigeria to study in the UK and in 1988 began professional career as a painter.

1 comment:

  1. One of the truly great and most innovative artists of the past 50 years. Sadly, it is perhaps only now that the full extent of her talent is appreciated. She was a great credit to both Nigeria and Britain, to people of Colour and to Women. I am honoured to have known her.