Interview with Obi Nwaegbe: Art, an important tool for civilization.

My childhood

I schooled in Nsukka and I’m from Delta State. I did my higher education in Nsukka. My dad was a lecturer and my mum, a teacher. I studied Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and I did my youth service in Lafia, Nasarawa state and since then I’ve been doing arts.


As far as I was a kid, I started drawing with encouragement from my dad in forms of toys and I tried sketching too. As early as 5 years, I started making drawings with encouragement from my dad, so I would say naturally, it came to me.


My inspiration

I am very imaginative, and I see everyday life in a perception unique to me, the ability to make a different interpretation to what I see.


By the time I was in secondary school, I was performing better than most people in my class and my dad felt art would be good for me. So, while others studied I was busy with other things. My dad encouraged me a lot, buying my paintings and believing in my dreams.


My theme

I have had so many themes of my work due to my long years of practice. I have many political perspectives relating to arts. Through my works, I try to visualize the challenges in Nigeria. I’ve travelled to a nomadic part of Africa where I moved to Ghana to enlarge my view and I had an exhibition there too. So I went back to my natural state of appreciating things.


Public reception of my works

My art have been received very well in the places I go. I know my works have been bought in these places. In Ghana it was well received, but Nigeria has been more powerful. I’ve also been to a whole lot of exhibitions. The business part of it has been challenging because initially I focused my love on just the drawing side. But overall, I think the prospect is good in Nigeria.


Art in Nigeria

The market for art in Nigeria is good. One has to be hardworking and up doing. Nigeria has a good market and the possibility is large.


Art is one of the most important tools for demonstrating to the world that you are a civilized being. Most countries put great effort into the work. China, Taiwan are all on the forefront of art. America has also keyed into arts as an important tool for national image making. Nigeria ought to use art as a strategy for national development. Nigeria needs to key into art for national development, we need to embrace it through collection and exposition in museums and we need help from the government to push the art movement and its vehicle for driving it.


Art can become a tool for pushing the economy of Nigeria. Museums would go a long way to encourage lots of people into exploring their skills in the field of art. There are lots of talented people in the country and a push would go a long way to encourage many into taking their skills to the next level.

There are many people who against the odds have pushed their passion and are now enjoying it. We need our leaders to really encourage us and support arts

The monalisa makes close to about 500 million dollars yearly and other great works of art pull in so much in revenue

Art can be a way to make a living. Artists make great living out of art, it just needs to get out and it’s more like a spiritual exercise that needs to get out. What we can produce as artist have not come yet.


My style

My style of art has really evolved. I started with natural representation. From naturalistic practice I started getting influence from other artist and works. Today, what I have is a blend of my academic drawing and abstract often called abstract expressionism. I work with oil, I work with acrylic. I paint with oil on canvas. I also do water color and pastel too.


How to access my arts

My arts are showcased on social media and through newspapers and publishing means, I do exhibitions and some of my arts are showcased in galleries. Internet and social media helps people see my arts online.


My pricing

My art is for consumption by everyone. Regardless of value, everyone can aspire to buy my art, it is relatively cheap and I give room for instalments. Anyone who can muster the will to buy can have access to it.


The ongoing exhibition

We had the first opening at Traffic, the Missouri area, we are having one in the dunes at the waffle shop so people eating can have access to our works. The next exhibition is at charcoal in wuse II.



My challenge

My major challenge so far is to convince people that I know what I am doing


The future

The future of art in Nigeria is very bright and I see creative energy everywhere. There is progress and no cause for alarm.


Advice for upcoming artists

In conclusion, art is life if you can just put your mind to it, you can do it. If you are convinced on the inside, then nobody can stop you.

Sincerely, thank you for reading.

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