Uzoma Samuel/ Nigeria/ interview by black dog bone

Uzoma Samuel: Nigeria/ interview by black dog bone

You are a very unusual artist. I have never seen the style of art that you do? how you use different pieces of cut fabric to create your art. can you explain a bit about that. how you got in to it. its so wonderful. 
My Mum used to be a tailor over the years, and so as a little child then, I am attracted to pieces of cloths, sometimes I am assigned to sweep her shop and throw those pieces away, but I end up packing them and playing with them. Using pieces of cloth became very part of me, now as a grown artist I choose to paint with it. 
where do you get the cloth. do you go to a tailor and do they give you cut pieces or do you go buy cloth that you like and cut int piece.

My Mum used to be a tailor over the years, and so as a little child then, I am attracted to pieces of cloths, sometimes I am assigned to sweep her shop and throw those pieces away, but I end up packing them and playing with them. Using pieces of cloths became very part of me, now as a grown artist I choose to paint with it.


I source the pieces of cloths from local tailors, sometimes I pay some people to supply me. it’s a way of recycling waste to art and wealth 

are you now living in Nigeria. or are you in China. what were you doing in China were you going to school there. what made you do art? I also have seen the art that you do on sand you know those big faces. do you do that a lot too. I am back to Nigeria. I went to China on an art expedition to further my interest as an artist. China is a Country worthy of emulation in the area of arts and cultural practices, Heritage management which was a major area I paid attention to while in China, as these are needed in our Nation to revive our arts and cultural management system.



What kind of medium do you prefer to use in your art? is it mostly what you do with cloth? do you also use oils or watercolor? My special medium is fabrics collage, but I also paint oil, acrylics and others. As an artist it is needful to be conversant with many mediums and that gives room for unlimited expressions 

Is there a style of painting particular to Nigeria? Not really a style of painting particular to Nigeria in this modern time, but our story, history that have influenced the artists here remains particular to us and can be seen in the works of many true Nigerian artist


My very early childhood was fun growing up as the only son in the family until about the age of ten when we lost both parents within two months and everything changed. From one hand to another me and my three sisters were taken. It wasn’t easy growing up as a child.



Do you see an improvement or deterioration in modern art? There are lots of improvements in modern art or what is now called the contemporary art, especially the African art which has suddenly gained good international attention and is sought after on daily basis. The world now have seen a clear progression and hyper improvements from what they used to believe as African art, the internet, social media and easy travel has broken major boundaries, thereby making it easier for intercultural exchange, learning and appreciations.




Can you tell us something about your school life. How did you spend it? I attended Government Craft Development Center College in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. The school opened my understanding of basic drawings, but then I was doing welding engineering in the sciences. Most time I visit the fine art department to watch the artists doing drawings and paintings as I enjoy that so much. Getting to the University I decided to go finally where my heart anchors, which is the fine art. Having done some apprentice under an artist after my college in 2005. In 2006 I got into University of Port Harcourt as a pre-degree student for a year. I finished as the second best student and was fully admitted into the University Fine Art and Design. The processes of learning art is not very easy I must say this, as artist students in the school we are bond to our studios and lecture hall always, “NO TIME FOR PLAY” but that helped shaped our personalities and made us more stronger. Most of us helped our parents to pay up our school fees as sometime this is the dividend of practicing art. I majored in painting after learning all other courses from year one – three including the photography I still practice today. Even as a student I have keen interest in practicing art strongly; I was doing more photography while still studying painting. In 2010 during our project and graduation preparations, a Professor in my department by name Frank Ugiomoh told me about the African biggest international photography festival and exhibition coming up the following year in 2011. He gave me the application papers and encouraged me to work and apply, I did and eventually I was selected for the Bamako Biennial. The Bamako Biennial for me represents a pivotal position in my photography career. The exchange of ideas, and exposure I had within global photography practices was critical and enriching as well. Been my first international show as an artist, it positioned me on a good platform to rise. Apart from the preliminary gains accruable to such international photo exhibitions for Africans; I gathered huge motivations and reasons to further my career as an artist.



what part of Nigeria did you grow up, where were you born? I was born in Imo State the eastern part of Nigeria but grew up in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.


 did you grow upon the village or the city.


I grew up in the city of Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, Nigeria.

How



was your childhood spent? Were you happy, were mischievous?


My very early childhood was fun growing up as the only son in the family until about the age of ten when we lost both parents within two months and everything changed. From one hand to another me and my three sisters were taken. It wasn’t easy growing up as a child.


Not really a style of painting particular to Nigeria in this modern time, but our story, history that have influenced the artists here remains particular to us and can be seen in the works of many true Nigerian artist



I see this big scar across your forehead and I was wondering how that happened. Early 2016 in January I had a vehicle accident, while traveling within Nigeria. It was very fatal but the Lord God saved my life.



have you had many exhibitions. Why did you choose to be an artist? As a strong Emerging African Artist, I have had some good numbers of group exhibitions in the country, a solo and few international shows. My becoming an Artist was call from birth, despite the all I passed through. Then as a child, I draw so much on the ground, constructed a lots of toy cars, houses, bass guitar, I made baskets too. In all these I never knew what is called Fine Art until I attended Government Technical Collage. Today I am very appreciative that everything that has happened to me helped channeled me into the divine call to be an Artist. I couldn’t have given the best to any other field.






Who was the teacher who first taught you art? Mr. Lucky Denis 


What is the most important moment in your career as an artist? The most important moment in my career is the time spent creating a piece of art. It’s always a precious moment.


as far as your art where do you fit in? or do you fit int all. are you like in a world of your own. I am not in the world of my own, but I am unique in my art. Going to Art School was to learn the basics of Art and get certified. Returning and practicing in the studio now showcases the geniuses of an overburdened baggage of years of preparations and experience of a called artist, stretching beyond the capabilities of a young school lever.






Are their any artists in this field you respect? Yes, I respect Ike Francis who was my lecturer in the University; he is a painter and sometimes does very interesting collages and mixed media. He also introduced me to George Edozie a Lagos based artist; in 2009 I did my it with him. He paints with fabrics, oil and acrylics too 
are there are certain artist that you are influenced by. or that you really like? I am influenced by Ike Francis and George Edozie but the way I used fabrics is purely different from them.

What is your saddest and happiest experience in your life? My saddest experience in my life was when I lost my parents while my happiest was when I woke up in the hospital after I was involved in a vehicle accident that plunged me into a very long comma and nearly took my life


Uzoma Samuel

https://www.facebook.com/uzomasamuel.anyanwu?pnref=lhc.friends


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