Artist talks about Venice Biennale and new studio on CNN African voices

Nigeria's contemporary artist, Ehikhamenor, makes history as one of the artists chosen to represent Nigeria in the 57th edition of Venice Biennale.

Victor Ehikhamenor

First, the crew journeyed to the beautiful outdoor art installation on an imposing building in Victoria Island, the business hub of Lagos and indeed, Nigeria. Ehikhamenor’s famous Benin inspired motif is unmistakable as it covers the front of the entire structure.

Next, the crew made a stop at his newly opened studio which still bears marks of construction work located in the high-brow Lekki, Lagos. “Art has taken me to places I could never have imagined visiting or going,” a relaxed Victor tells African Voices in his Library. He spoke about his purpose for setting up a studio of his own, something many expected to have come earlier considering his reputation.

Victor ranks among one of the most successful contemporary Nigerian artistes and indeed, one of the most wide-travelled. For his next trip, he heads to Europe for the Venice Biennale holding in the Italian city of Venice. He makes history as one of the two artists selected to represent Nigeria at its pavilion at the 57th Edition of the art fiesta.

“I am happy for my country more than I am happy for myself," he tells the CNN crew. With focus on the theme, "How about now?" the Nigerian party will open with festival on May 13.

With a solid backend handled by a fantastic crack team known as Temple Management Company, Victor Ehikhamenor has recently recorded a slew of successful outings. His motif graced the famous vintage Fender guitar owned by juju maestro, Sunny Ade, auctioned for a record N52.1 million last December. Some weeks ago, his paintings emerged as the most sought-after at the Art X Lagos event that held at the posh, Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Taking the crew on a trip down memory lane, he narrated how his love for the arts was formed watching the Udomi-Uwessan village tradition in a pristine setting in Edo State, South-South Nigeria.

At his imposing outdoor project on a building that houses upscale restaurant, NOK by Alara, Victor recalled to CNN how tensed it was working on the project.

“This is my first commissioned outdoor mirror and it was quite an interesting project to work especially when one is asked to work on a very nice and iconic building by . It was a bit tensed working on it but I was able to pull it off with my own style."

Among other things, he talked about his inspiration and drops gems from his rich experience that can enrich the mind of younger artists.

Victor Ehikhamenor graduated from Ambrose Alli University, Delta State and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Maryland, College Park, USA. He has published several critical essays and written several books including “Excuse Me” and “Sordid Rituals” apart from painting.

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