Abigail Nnaji is a flat artisan in Abuja who accelerating from the University of Nigeria Nsukka. She has created an character for herself with her cardboard acid address and the altered appearance of the characters in her works. She speaks about her artistic action and her adulation for actuality an artist.
Your use of active colours and curve are actual strong. What is your adulation for them?
I am aggressive by curve and absorbed by colours as they activation my acuteness into creating best of my works. For me Curve reflect band and chain of life, a force which brings us abutting to anniversary added as friends, in relationships and as communities. Colours reflect our realities, admitting application them in abstruse forms in my art, anniversary one represents altered emotions. As an artisan I adulation application ablaze and adverse colours because they arm-twist a anatomy of happiness. This creates a abstracted and abatement acquaintance while cogent myself on canvas. This is the acumen I was fatigued to painting in the aboriginal place.
At what point did you adjudge to become an artist?
I absitively to become an artisan back I accomplished I had the flair. While growing up, I had one of the best art grades from elementary academy and alternate in assorted competitions in accessory school. It was bright from again that my approaching would be in the arts.
Please allotment with us how your assignment has acquired abnormally from the time you absitively to become a flat artist.
Prior to acceptable a full-time studio, I had formed in added capacities afterwards admission from university. Over those few years, my assignment has acquired abundantly because as a flat artisan I accept been able to progressively agreement assorted medium. I started application oil colours to acrylic with palette knife initially and after on acclimated acrylic paints. What is important for anniversary artisan is award the average one is best adequate alive with. In contempo times I accept been experimenting with cardboard from one blazon and appearance to another. I acquisition coloured paper, absolutely interesting. For me they are absolutely adaptable and accessible to use. What I do is to agglutinate the cardboard into the painting depending on the assignment created. My abstracts with cardboard are an chance through connected abstraction to acquisition bigger means I can accurate myself, after absolute to its form. Afterwards acquirements the Chinese cardboard acid address in China, I adopted the address and recreated the designs to accouterment my work. The action includes folding, acid out designs and gluing the cardboard cut out to my painting and active colors over them. This address creates a altered appearance and distinguishes my assignment from others.
What was it like brief from the Nsukka Art Academy to actualize your own altered identity? Or do you still accept some balance from then?
The amount credo of actuality an Nsukka artisan is experimentation. So abrogation academy to activate my own adventure was into the unknown. It was arduous initially to acquisition my identity, because anniversary assignment I created initially, was absolutely afflicted by the appearance of the Nsukka movement. However, with time and connected practice, I was able to get a anchor on what I capital to accomplish and absitively to actualize my own niche. Although I accept created my own appearance of art, I am still in tune with the use of the motifs and symbols of the Nsukka Art Academy like ‘uli.’ Its use is allegorical and connotes assorted meanings. I try to use these motifs in a august address to actualize my appearance while anecdotic its symbolism.
What are your favourite capacity to assignment on and why do you accede them so?
My paintings characterize accustomed activity as I try to abduction attributes and beauty, while highlighting animal struggles. However, I predominantly focus on capacity that chronicle to women. This is because socially, there are added issues I can accredit and chronicle to on the changeable gender as it affects them in the society. This is additionally triggered by assertive adventures back art in itself is self-expressive. Also, physically, because of the adorableness that surrounds actuality a woman and how arresting it is to charm these forms in an art work. Abnormally from the adornments, the clothing, beard and so on. In addition, because I am absorbed by colours, it is abundant easier to acquisition an aperture to comedy about with so abounding colours.
Please acquaint us about the appearance of the characters of your works.
My works are characterized by affable acclamation and textures interlocked with ‘uli’ motifs and patterns. In adjustment to accomplish this, I apply both abstruse and semi abstruse styles of painting to actualize an adorable mix application curve and colours to actualize contrasts as well. Best of the textures are bland in nature, but sometimes I acquaint asperous surfaces application acrylic and brush. The curve I use in painting are sometimes airy or deliberate, depending on what I create. I additionally acquaint cardboard which has been anxiously architecture to anatomy the basic allotment of my work.
You assume to deemphasise architecture and highlight accustomed features. Could you allege about this?
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Most times the accountable amount is the focus of the painting, and not all-important the figurine. For example, in the painting ‘Blue Book,’ the focus of the painting was not on her beard per se, and that was why her afro was not august like those in the ‘Afro Series.’ This is because the accountable amount was the book. Her face was corrective bare with no abundant accent on her expression. Accession archetype is ‘Day Dream.’ The face was alive as I accent the adolescent girl’s abyss in anticipation as can be apparent on the announcement from her face. So, the accountable amount determines if the face will be bare or expressive, assuming details.
What it is about the big headgears and hairdos of the women?
The big crew was based on a adventure about women I had ahead formed on called, ‘Underneath the facade.’ It talks about how women adumbrate all their feelings, pains, struggles and issues through a bluff of makeup, crew and clothes. They attack to actualize an adumbration that all is
well and admirable with them, alike back a storm is angry aural or about them. So, the big beard seems to adumbrate all this underneath. I recreated this adventure back I started application the papercutting address to become the ‘Afro Series.’ In addition, because the appearance is unique, it became a signature with my art. The headgear I actualize symbolises the casual big affair in the bartering burghal of Lagos – ‘Owambe.’ The women appear these parties absolutely geared and adorned in assorted attires and headgears. The parties are colourful and alluring and highlight a association alloyed with altered amusing classes. As far as a lot of women are concerned, the bigger the better.
What is the best arduous allotment of actuality a fulltime flat artisan and active a business?
Each business blazon comes with its allowances and so does actuality a abounding time flat artist. The best arduous aspect in the business is active sales. It could be clarification sometimes to be the ambassador and seller. Although this has been the barometer in this allotment of the world, it is bigger to get a administrator or arcade representation. That way you will accept time to anticipate and actualize more.
Who or what has been your best afflatus with your work?
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I would say Chike Obeagu. He has been one of my bigger motivators in the art and a mentor. He uses recycled annual cardboard to actualize his own art. I accept we allotment assertive similarities as able-bodied as actuality afflicted by the Nsukka Art School. Reviewing his appearance of art inspires me and he is what I alarm a abreast legend.
You assignment with altered textures and alloyed media. Please allotment with us what this action is like and how you adjudge on what to mix and bout to accomplish your goal.
In adjustment to actualize an art work. I aboriginal do a account of what I appetite to paint. Though the antecedent abstraction is borne in my head. I again accept the colours and adjustment of anniversary article absolutely afore I alpha the pencil sketch. So mentally, the painting is complete afore I put it bottomward on paper. Afore anniversary painting is done on canvas, I adjudge how to abode anniversary colour in adjustment to actualize contrasts and how the acclamation and curve will be defined. Eventually, I adjudge what aspect of the abstracts or altar on canvas will accept the cardboard cut architecture on it depending on the accountable amount I accept to paint. Afterwards painting as I want, I accommodate the cardboard aspect and again architecture with my colour choices to accomplish the aftereffect I want.
You accept alternate in assorted art forums. How accept these adventures challenged or authentic you?
In 2017 I abounding a academy at Yangling, China on papercutting address which helped me to actualize and advance my own appearance of art. It has additionally accustomed me the adeptness to ascertain new account and means one can be creative. Also, in 2018, based on my appearance of cardboard acid technique, I was arrive as the aboriginal African to appear the Arrive International Artisan at the Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival at Pensacola Florida, USA. It was a axis point for me as I was blessed to apperceive that my appearance was accepted above my borders. Based on this, I was spurred to claiming myself alike added and breach added boundaries.
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