BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
VICTORIA Udondian, lately, appears to have prepared for the great task of taking Nigerian art to Europe and across Africa. Started in Austria, later Croatia, Italy and back to Africa, Kenya, specifically, Victoria has taken Nigerian art around the world. Victoria revealed that in Austria, she worked with students, made presentation on her works and discussed African arts.
Some of the images she brought back from her trips abroad show that from each trip, the focus changes, but not without the artist’s identity of unrestricted expression.
For example, from Croatia, Alsdo held in Kenya, was strictly an art talk and Victoria defied the rule to produce an assemble of fabric in the host country’s native textile industry.
She explains that in Venice “it was a special purpose art entity of Fondazione di Venezia, with the aim of promoting works of young, emerging artists from Africa.”
That involved four African artists. “As a visiting artist, I had the opportunity to be involved in studio activities and also came in contact with other local artists aside from participating in other cultural activities run by Fondazione di Venezia.”
In Kenya, at a forum tagged Wasanii International Artists Workshop 2011, which involved about 21 African artists, including Nigerian and US-based collage artist, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, the native textile Kikoi attracted Victoria’s curiosity. As she infuses her skill into the tradition of her host country, the artist explains how she made a fabric from wastes.
|Native fabric assemblage of Kenyan origin, Kikoi, by Victoria Udondian|
“Given my concerns with repurposing materials into textiles here, I was interested in recycling the off-cuts from the tailors’ shop into Kenyan textile (kikoi).”
Interestingly, Victoria’s Kikoi showed that Africans’ preference for vibrant colours as well as embroidered clothing is a strong identity, irrespective of nationalities. These assembles by Victoria in the East African country could have been in Nigeria or any part of Africa. She notes that the dilemma of African artists on identity still lingers. Like most artists across the continent, Kenyan artists are also asking, “what is Kenyan art?”
SOME of the works she did in the European countries are of abstracts content in which she applies a lot of lines to render facial imagery.
Several months of Victoria’s globetrotting may also have created avenues for her to represent Nigeria at the maiden edition of World Arts Games (WAG), holding in Croatia, this year.
“It is an initiative of Croatian artist, Peter Weisz, and holds in Croatia towns of Osijek, Vukovar, Ludbreg, Krizevci and Fuzine in 2012,” she says.
As part of the project, World Arts Games (WAG), in collaboration with the city of Vukovar, a partner of the Games, organised the International Art Colony in painting in Vukovar from May 8 to 15, last year, where artists from different countries across the globe converged to paint for a week.
THOUGH she has spent a larger part of her life in Uyo, Victoria has featured at various art shows across Nigeria. She is currently the Publicity Secretary of the Society of Nigeria Artists (SNA). Some of her shows in recent years include Open House — a show of contemporary Nigerian art by the Visual Artists Society of Nigeria (VASON) held at Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos; International ArtExpo Nigeria, at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos; Inaugural group show of the SNA, Blossom, held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Garki, Abuja, by the FCT chapter; and Plight Of Women, by Female Artist Association of Nigeria (FASN), National Museum, Lokoja, Kogi State.
|Victoria Udondian, working during one o f her tours|