In Residence: November 2 – December 18, 2015
Social Practice: Environmental and Social Inequality
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. In his body of work, “The Village was Burnt Down”, he used chunks of charcoal to depict the atrocities carried out by the Boko Haram sect in Northern Nigeria. In the past few years, many houses have been burnt down and in some cases villages have been reduced to ashes, rendering the people homeless. Here the by-products of the atrocities were used as a creative medium. Telling this stories with chunks of charcoal and sometimes with pieces of old newspapers enables me to document issues in such an abstract way, yet pointing at the realities around us.
He is currently working on short films and a project called “Residue Collection of Societal and Environmental Mishaps: Habitat Loss.” The project aims at promoting and creating awareness concerning contemporary lifestyle, both with regard to socio-economic circumstance and environmental conservation. Chima’s work has been exhibited in Nigeria, South Africa, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands. During his residency Uchay plans to draw inspiration from the community, and youth to create new works with found objects. He wants to nurture the youth’s self-esteem, and guide them through the creative process.