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Chigozie Obi Emerges As The 2021 Access Bank Art X Prize Winner

Chigozie Obi emerged as the winner of the 2021 Access Bank ART X Prize. Chigozie was selected by an esteemed jury, from five shortlisted finalists that included: Chukwudi Onwumere, Mobolaji Ogunrosoye, Nyancho NwaNri, and Omoregie Osakpolor.

Heavy is the head (I) by Chigozie Obi

Chigozie Obi is a multi-dimensional visual artist whose experimental artworks are created through the layering of multiple materials. Her work is distinguished by her use of vibrant colours and figures to portray emotions and stories formed from personal experiences and focuses on the representation of Black/African people in their diversity.

Chigozie Obi will receive prize winnings of N1,800,000 towards a solo exhibition at ART X Lagos, tailored mentorship support, and a residency at Gasworks in London.

The 2021 edition of the Access Bank ART X Prize was adjudicated by a jury of 5 renowned artists and industry stakeholders, namely Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Ugoma Adegoke, Ndidi Dike, Marie-Ann Yemsi, Dexter Wimberly, Alessio Antoniolli, and ruby onyinyechi amanze.

Meet the four finalists of the 2021 Access Bank ART X Lagos:

Chukwudi Onwumere is a photographer whose interest in the medium grew while documenting the beautiful city of Lagos. From initially capturing the busy and colourful streets of Lagos, Onwumere has continued to refine his practice evolving from landscape to fine art and documentary photography.

Onwumere was among the photographers commissioned by Q dance in the first edition of Dance Gathering (2017). He was a finalist in the United States Embassy Photo Competition, Nigeria (2018), a finalist in Lagos Photo Festival (2019), a finalist at Capprize Photography Awards (2020), and a nominee for World Press Photo 6×6 Global Talent (2020). He is a member of the Nlele Institute mentee program.

Mobolaji Ogunrosoye is a self-taught conceptual artist whose practice is centred around the exploration of selfhood, body image, and the impact of societal influences on personal identity. Using photography and collaging techniques, Ogunrosoye documents physicality and emotion by studying archival material containing images and text describing daily life, neighbourhood activity, and general landscapes; reimagining them to introduce the viewer and herself to alternate versions of reality.

Ogunrosoye held her first solo exhibition; Loose Woman, curated by A White Space Creative Agency, in 2018. She participated in the inaugural virtual residency at Window, Winnipeg, where she explored the interpretation of digital and analogue collage as one harmonized medium. She is amongst 40 female artists currently exhibited at The Invincible Hands exhibition at The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art.

Read also: Google, Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art leverage technology to go global

Nyancho NwaNri is a lens-based artist and documentary photographer whose work revolves around identity, the human psyche, indigenous African spiritual traditions and knowledge systems, as well as social and environmental issues.

A self-taught artist, filmmaker and photographer, NwaNri started her career at Disney’s ESPN and has worked in the Film and TV industry in the United Kingdom and across West Africa.

Her works have been showcased at various exhibitions and festivals including Eyes On Main Street Festival, North Carolina, USA, (2021); The Oceans and Its Interpreters, Hong-Gah Museum, Taipei, Taiwan, (2020); ART X Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria, (2019); VideoEx Festival, Zurich, Switzerland, (2018); Chale Wote Festival, Accra, Ghana, (2017); and Ndiva Women’s Film Festival, Accra, Ghana, (2017).

Omoregie Osakpolor is a documentary photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses primarily on social justice and culture. Through his art, Osakpolor expresses his thoughts and tells human stories with the hope to critically engage his society.

Omoregie’s works have been featured on various platforms including CNN Africa, BBC, Quartz and leading Nigerian newspapers. His works have been exhibited in group exhibitions including the 12th Bamako Encounters (2019); Thought Pyramid Art Centre (2019) and others in Lagos, Abuja, and Benin City.

His short film “Grey” won the Fashola Photography Foundation Prize. He was nominated for the Edwin George Prize for Photography at The Future Africa Awards (2017), and for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass (2020).

ART X Collective believes that supporting emerging talent at this pivotal stage in their careers will ensure the continued growth of the visual art sector in Nigeria and is proud to partner with Access Bank and Gasworks on The Prize.

About the Prize

The ART X Prize was created to further the careers of emerging Nigerian artists who have demonstrated a commitment to working as professional visual artists.

In the absence of infrastructure that exists in other international centres of contemporary art, the ART X Prize was launched in partnership with Access Bank to contribute to the burgeoning contemporary art scene in Nigeria.

In 2019, the Prize was renamed the Access Bank ART X Prize, and now provides funding, tailored mentoring support, and a residency opportunity in collaboration with Gasworks, to exceptional emerging artists, enabling them to complete ambitious projects that challenge the expectations of local and global audiences.

ART X Collective believes that supporting emerging talent at this pivotal stage in their careers will ensure the continued growth of the visual art sector in Nigeria.

ABOUT ART X Lagos

ART X Lagos was launched as a dynamic platform to showcase and support the breadth of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. The fair, founded in 2016 by Tokini Peterside, has since become a cornerstone of the African art sector. The first of its kind in West Africa, ART X Lagos is a unique cultural event that goes beyond the traditional bounds of an art fair and has welcomed over 40,000 visitors to several days of dynamic art experiences, a happening now complemented virtually through ARTXLAGOS.COM.

Since its debut, ART X Lagos has grown to host galleries and artists from over 30 countries and become renowned for its ambitious program, which includes ART X Talks – a lively panel discussion series; ART X Live! – a one-of-a-kind showcase featuring collaborations between some of the fastest-rising artists and musicians on the African continent; as well as specially curated presentations and interactive projects. These programs have featured an array of emerging and established artists from the continent and diaspora, including keynote artists such as El Anatsui, Wangechi Mutu, Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, Yinka Shonibare CBE, and Hank Willis Thomas.

The sixth edition of ART X Lagos in 2021 will be a hybrid offering, with a physical fair from 4–7 November and a parallel online fair extending from 4-21 November 2021. The fair will deliver an expanded program that will include the presentation of 30 of Africa and the diaspora’s leading galleries, a talks program, and specially curated projects both in person and at the online fair.

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