Uchay Joel Chima’s Formations Opens at PlatteForum

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Uchay Joel Chima’s Formations Opens at PlatteForum


Resident Artist Uchay Joel Chima and Participants from Mi Casa Display Images that Inspire Hope

DENVER – PlatteForum’s second artist exhibition opening of the 2015/2016 season, FORMATIONS, will begin Thursday, Dec. 17 at PlatteForum, 2400 Curtis Street, Denver, CO. The exhibit will feature mixed-media paintings and collages by Chima, alongside work created by students from Mi Casa Community Center at Lake Middle School that Chima has been mentoring throughout his 6-week artist residency. The exhibit opening is free to the public on Thursday, Dec. 17, 6 – 8 p.m.

Layered in one large painting, viewers will see the words “Everyone belongs…” These words embody the spirit and work of Uchay Joel Chima. Using found objects and materials discarded by others as useless, Chima creates work from broken shards that become rearranged, organized, and ultimately transformed into powerful paintings that express the hope that is often buried in the despair. Chima uses his art to address the larger social issues and inequalities in our world, whether in Chima’s homeland of Nigeria, Paris, Syria or right next door to PlatteForum at the St. Francis Shelter.

“It is all too easy to simply give up, throw it away, whether people or things. It’s a global issue so relevant today,” says Chima. “Where the shelter helps the homeless find hope, this residency gives me a place, time and support to create and develop my work. I’m working to create hope.”

String is a prevalent material in Chima’s paintings and it is used to express the togetherness, bonding and oneness he so believes in. One prominent painting, titled Hope in Despair, is comprised of thirty faces, looking at each other, away from each other and then, directly at the viewer. This particular work creates a community akin to the community Chima has experienced in Denver while working with PlatteForum and the young people he has been mentoring from Mi Casa Community Center at Lake Middle School, whose works will be on display alongside his own.

About the Artist

Uchay Joel Chima is a Nigerian artist who incorporates a variety of materials and processes to express the larger social and environmental issues and realities around us. Since graduating from the Art School of the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu, Nigeria, Chima’s artwork has continued to evolve, remaining relevant to developments in contemporary art, weaving a tapestry of memory, imagination, societal happenings and emotion. Chima combines various found objects, including strings, sand, wax, with paint and other mediums, employing a mixture of conventional and unconventional approaches in his unceasing explorations. Chima’s work has been exhibited in Nigeria, South Africa, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.

About PlatteForum

PlatteForum’s artist residencies offer time, space, and resources for professional artists to create new work and shape an experience where young people can learn through practice, expanding their sense of what is possible. During each residency, PlatteForum teams the artist with small groups of young people from neighborhoods throughout Denver to produce and exhibit a collaborative body of work. This award-winning nonprofit organization provides a nurturing space where creativity and artistic excellence are highly valued and where artists and youth work together to model the creative process, emphasizing the connections between their artistic passion, significant life experiences, and public issues. The overall experience transforms the lives of the youth, the artists and the community. For more information visit www.platteforum.org.