A Letter From Nneka:
What separates those who reach higher heights from those who remain stagnant is the courage to explore. Although, in the art world, there are some who have elevated based off of pure marketability, pop culture paintings, and "surface-level" work, I see a great need for storytelling in today's contemporary world.
For as long as I could remember, I was so deeply interested in finding out the origins of cultures. At the age of fifteen, I found myself enchanted by Ancient Egyptian history and how others before me lived their lives. Even back then, I saw art, in its original form, was not about auction sales and pretentious buyers. It was about creating items for spiritual practice and recording tradition to pass down to future generations. I am making a transition into this form of creation. As an individual who constantly-evolves, I no longer feel satisfaction from placing things on the canvas simply out of aesthetic. Now, more than ever, I am intentional about what I create, with whom I create it, and how I display it to the world.
Art, for me, was and still is a spiritual, healing practice, and now I feel this strong sense of direction for what I do and why I do it. I have an astounding responsibility to continue the story of my ancestors, and pick up from where their voices faded into an abyss. Somewhere between the capturing of the first African into enslavement to the merciless shooting of the latest young Black man or woman, it was lost. I am dedicating my artistry to the research of discovering ancient African spirituality, starting, of course, with my Home, Nigeria. Unexpectedly, this project ties together my background in fashion (with the use of fabric), psychology (the study of European indoctrination on the African psyche), and of course, art. It also explores how Africans embedded sacred geometry into anything, from clothing to architecture.
Of Origins and Archives: A Visual Study of Pre-Colonial Nigerian Spirituality is the new collection dedicated to the ancient belief systems of Nigerian tribes before European colonization and Christianity were introduced. The collection takes on an intensive study of Igbo cosmology, sacred geometry, as well as tribal rituals, deities, and important figures of the country as well as its influence on the entire world. A second, equally important feature of the exhibit will indirectly touch on the psychological aspect of colonialism, and its hand in generational trauma, identity erasure, and self-denial.
More is on its way, so in order to prepare for larger works and projects on a wider scale, I am selling my works from the first quarter of 2017 for reduced prices. This is not to disregard these works, as they are part of my journey as an artist, but like all things growth-related, I must part ways with items, behaviors, and thoughts I have surpassed. I think of my earlier works as a study, or rather, a story; a way to track my own personal passage through this lifetime of spiritual, intellectual, and skillful evolution.