Drawing on cultural, gendered and personal references, Ndidi Emefiele creates layered figurative compositions that, dynamic in brush stroke and in juxtaposition of colour, conjure the complexity of contemporary experience and female identity. Emerging out of the Nigerian panorama, the strength of her narrative becomes even more pronounced as she encompasses collage, textiles and traditional materials conveying a strong sense of cultural heritage and aesthetics inspired by her homeland.Read More
Ndidi Emefiele's incredibly vivid canvases embrace a vision of women as strong, vibrant, self-confident characters who exist in relation to each other in a universe where the male is only noticed by his total absence. Her assertive figures make no attempt to fulfill male expectations. The depiction of enlarged heads which are traditionally said to control and predict one's destiny, and the use of extravagant glasses or CD's, become a recurring element objectifying the need for a shield against the world.
Ndidi Emefiele became known for depicting strong, self-sufficient women in urban backdrops. In her new works, inspired by her sister's tragic death, the artist places her characters in natural surroundings where animals fulfil a metaphoric function, often influenced by sources as disparate as Nigerian mythology and the book of Revelations.
The overriding theme is how our loved ones never disappear into nothingness and they are always there to guide us if we are receptive to that possibility. Emefiele manages through the vibrancy of her paintings and their message to make the experience of viewing them extraordinarily life-affirming.
She has exhibited widely both internationally and in the UK including solo/group presentations in Miami, New York, London, Chicago, Los Angeles, Lagos, Johannesburg and Abuja. Emefiele forms part of private collections such as The Deighton Collection, The Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection and The Jimenez - Colon Collection. Public collections include: The Mint Museum, North Carolina, USA; The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Lagos, Nigeria and The University of South Africa, Cape Town. Importantly, she was awarded with the prestigious 'The Olive Prize 2016' (Excellence in Painting, The Slade School of Fine Art) and was among the nominees of The Future Awards Africa 2016 for Arts & Culture. Recently, she presented her works at the Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Virginia in 2018 as part of the exhibition Reclamation! Pan-African Works from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection. In 2020 Ndidi Emefiele's works were included in the exhibition Queen: From the Collection of CCH Pounder at The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit and The Cookout: Kinfolk and Other Intimacies at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in New York.
Text courtesy rosenfeld.