Gerald Chukwuma (b. 1973) lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria. He graduated in 2003 with First Class Honors from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Chukwuma is one of Nigeria's fastest rising contemporary artists, noted for his intricately crafted sculptures on wood panels. The materials he chooses are common enough; however, using in his unique way a range of techniques — including burning, chiselling and painting — he captures a richly layered history that is imbedded with personal and political meaning. The use of traditional Uli and Nsibidi symbols links his work to the Nsukka art tradition which is credited with expanding and modernising the Igbo cultural aesthetic. Meanwhile, the transformation of found objects into highly detailed artworks roots him firmly in the contemporary moment, with its concern for rapid environmental and ecological change. Throughout his work — which embraces painting, sculpture and collage — Chukwuma explores migration as a constant process of transformation and reinvention. With the implications of globalisation on his local community always in mind, Chukwuma transforms everyday materials to render new stories of Nigeria's sociopolitical landscape. The artist is drawn to the movements of people through voluntary and forced migration as a vital stage in the progress of our collective humanity. This sense of optimism is imbued in his work by his playfully illustrative characters, drawn from a wide variety of visual forms present in Nigeria's deep cultural history. Chukwuma has participated extensively in solo and group exhibitions across Nigeria and internationally.
Solo shows include: Negritude: The Igbo Has Landed, Art Village Gallery, USA, 2020; Wrinkles, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2019); Standing Ovation, Gallery 1957, Accra (2017); People’s Paradise, Temple Muse, Lagos (2016); Soaking Up Beauty, Constant Capital, Lagos (2014) and Highlife II, Ethnocentrique, Lagos (2013). Selected group exhibitions include: 1-54 London with Kristing Hjellegjerde Gallery (2019); Kubatana, curated by Kristin Hjellegjerde, Vesfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway (2019); A Journey into Contemporary African Art, Belvedere Art Space, Beirut, Lebanon (2010); Art X Lagos, Civic Center Lagos (2018); The Art Story, Cartool Art Gallery, UAE (2018); Essentials, Alexis Galleries, Lagos (2015); The Contemporaries, The Wheatbeaker, Lagos (2015); Today In History, Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Abuja (2015); Music Lesson, Alexis Gallery, Lagos (2012); Highlife I, Exhibition of Designs and Art, Ethnocentrique, Lagos (2011); Heden Daagse Afrikaanse Kunst, Amsterdam (2010); Pachakucha: Inspire Japan, Terra Kulture, Lagos (2009); Reclaiming Africa, Goethe-Institute, Lagos (2009); In Pursuit of Knowledge, Civic Centre, Lagos (2009); Africa Now, The World Bank, Washington, D.C (2009); Moderne Afrikansu Kunst, Danish Center for Culture and Development, Copenhagen (2009); Mouling Matter, Pan African University, Lagos (2008); and The Unbreakable Nigerian Spirit, Galarie 23, Amsterdam (2008). Upcoming shows include a solo show at Art Village Gallery, USA (2020), Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Berlin (2020) and at Gallery 1957, Accra (2020). Chukwuma's work is in the collection of Beth Rudin de Woody, USA; The Hague, Netherland; Easton Capital/ John Friedman Collection; Pan African University Lagos; Seth Dei Foundation, Accra; University of Nigeria Nsukka; The World Bank Collection, Washington D.C; and Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA) Nigeria.