BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
WITH over two years of experimenting in Europe and Africa, Victoria Udondian is set to enter future, strengthening her gospel of fabric-art.
A hint of what the future portends was revealed in a group presentation, which marked the fifth edition of Ngozi Ochonogor-led Pechakucha Lagos show at Goethe Institut, Lagos recently.
|Aso Ikele, Victoria Udondian's installation|
Featured alongside Udondian were George Edozie, Europe-based Alexander Koch, Priscilla Nzimiro, Remi Vaughan-Richards and Ade Shokunbi.
At the show, the work of the lady, who had, in the last two years toured Austria, Croatia, Italy and Kenya to preach her art gospel, shone like a million star.
If the fabric concept of her works and the philosophy behind then was not clear to observers in Nigeria, a closer opportunity came during the Pechakucha Lagos show.
Also, when 32 artists from West Africa stormed Manchester, U.K with We Face Forward, during the London 2012 Olympics, Udondian showed one of her fabric works, Aso Ikele.
As the three-dimensional feel of the artist’s work was yet to be felt at home, the intellectual content made up for the anticipation.
For her presentation, Udondian took the audience through the history of used-clothes. She revealed how waste from fabrics led her into weaving. She also discussed how creating garments, for her, is about social values as “means to investigate the context, the environment, the history of cultures, present realities and tradition.”
AND in Kenya, at a gathering tagged, Wasanii International Artists Workshop 2011, the country’s native fabric, Kikoi, attracted Udondian’s attention.
The artist’s attraction to fabrics seems to have a link with her early start. “I trained as a seamstress and fashion designer. My work today is informed by my interest in textiles, in the capacity of clothing to shape identity and the histories and tacit meanings woven into everyday materials.”
From Dakar to Accra and Bamako, Udondian had carried out research on how each native culture speaks to people’s fabric behaviours as well dwindling textile industry.
“I have researched the impact of used clothes on the people and the textiles industry,” she stressed.
According to Udondian, her interest is on ‘cultural identity’, with the aim of confronting the notions of ‘authenticity’.
“My work revolves around the theme of cultural contamination and the continuous interaction between contemporary traditions, which is especially visible in the weaving of textiles. I work with used fabrics, paper, plastic bags, and other recycled materials that are cut, sewn, woven, tied, glued and re purposed to create sculptures and installations, which reference textile and clothing histories in Nigeria.
“I also use and create garments, referencing the use of costume in Nigerian ceremonies and performances, and also use contemporary mass-produced clothing, which has different connotations of consumption and globalisation crossing over diverse ages and geographical areas. In my work, the garments used, the weaving and sewing methods employed are imbued with strong ethical and social values; they become the means to investigate the context, the environment, the history of cultures, present realities and traditional activities.”
BORN in 1982, Udondian studied at the University of Uyo and graduated with a BA in Painting in 2004. Aside from being a member of Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Udondian has since 2008 involved in the group, Catalyst Women Arts and Science in Portsmouth, U.K.