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 Nnenna Okore  (1975 - )

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Lived/Active: Nigeria      Known for: sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
'Agbogho II' (variant)
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Nnenna Okore was born in 1975 and spent her early life in Nsukka, Nigeria. She studied painting at the University of Nigeria where she graduated with First Class Honors after which she worked under the mentorship of El Anatsui, who played a key role in her artistic development. Okore went on to receive an M.A and M.F.A. in Sculpture from the University of Iowa in 2004 and 2005. Okore, who is now widely recognised as one of the most important contemporary artists that Nigeria has produced, takes much of her visual inspiration from the environment and specifically from her formative years spent in Nigeria - these influence the textures, colours, materials and techniques she combines to create her largely abstract, and often intricate installations. For the most part Okore uses found objects and natural or biodegradable materials in her practice, such as, newspaper, ropes, thread, wax, yarn, burlap, dye, coffee, starch and clay. The repetitive and labour-intensive processes she relies on to transform her media are ones she has learned by watching her fellow Nigerians perform daily tasks including weaving, sewing, rolling, twisting and dyeing. Through the process of remoulding and reinventing unwanted materials Nnenna Okore provides a commentary on both cultures based on consumption and disposal as well as recycling cultures both within Africa and worldwide. Her work is about the complex, strong and sometimes fragile relationships and linkages that make up the fabric of society and life itself. The idea of relationships and fusion of distinct but similar elements is the subject of Conjoined highlighted in this piece. Also evident is a play with textures and directional movement using multiple repetitive patterns. Okore has received several national and international awards and shown in major galleries and museums within and outside the United States including two solo exhibitions at October Gallery, London in 2008 and 2011. In 2008 she participated in Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary, at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and in 2012 We Face Forward, Manchester City Galleries. Like her mentor El Anatsui, Okore is a dedicated teacher and academic, currently Assistant Professor and Chair of the Art Department at North Park University.

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