Uchay Joel Chima

Solo Exhibition

Inhabitants of the Earth

through April 20, 2019

Memphis (January 10, 2019) – Art Village Gallery, known for presenting extraordinary international artwork, is launching Out of Africa: Inhabitants of the Earth, a new exhibition focused on people who live on planet Earth and their responsibility to take care of it. The exhibition, opening to the public on January 25 at 410 S. Main Street in Memphis, features 30 original works by Nigerian artist Uchay Joel Chima. 

Chima is known for his eclectic use of alluring materials and unique artistic process, often questioning environmental and social issues around the world. Weaving a tapestry of memory, imagination, societal happenings and emotion, Chima combines various found objects including strings, sand, wax, charcoal, old sacks with paint and other mediums in an aesthetic that informs his works. 

“If we look closely enough, we can find a link between all things,” says Chima. “Whether it is a link from one human to another, or an attachment to the environment and other living things, our relationship with material things, or the bond to the spiritual realm, everything is connected to everything else,” he explains “I am deeply fascinated with exploring these connections and am constantly looking for ways to reflect these linkages not only in the thematic expressions of my work but also in the use of materials and media.” 

Art Village Gallery curator and owner, Sheila Urevbu, says she was drawn to Chima’s works because of the intriguing media he uses to specifically create dialogue and interrogation of his subject matter. “Chima is like an alchemist who expertly combines each of his elements yielding the right balance of creativity and storytelling,” Urevbu says. “I have a passion for artwork that tells a story and it’s always important to me that people who come to the exhibitions find something unique and interesting that moves them.”

Out of Africa: Inhabitants of the Earth opens Thursday, January 24, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. with a special invitation only preview party, “Collector’s First Look and Press Reception,” where invited guests and media will join gallery curator Sheila Urevbu for a private showing along with drinks, light fare and discussion. 

The public opening of the exhibition will take place during the South Main Arts District’s popular Trolley Night, Friday, January 25 from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. The evening will feature an artist’s talk and tour from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.  The artist will be in attendance. 

Throughout the exhibition, Art Village Gallery will feature events that further explore the culture that inspired the works, including a special “Dinner and Dialogue” on Saturday, February 2at 7:00 p.m., featuring Nigerian cuisine and dialogue that challenges attendees position on culture, diversity and politics curated by Ericka DeBruce, Vice President of Engagement, Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility for Sedgwick Claims Management Services. Tickets are $75.  On February 14, “Art After Dark: Valentine’s Day Art Excursion,” showcasing live Afro Beats along with food, wine in an intimate setting, begins at 7:00pm. Tickets are $40. 

On Friday, February 22  at 7:00 pm (Trolley Night) the gallery will host a book signing for Nigerian author and documentary photographer, Jerry Chidi. The book, “Man & Mangroves: An Environmental Awakening, a visual narrative that raises the social consciousness of the rapidly deteriorating condition of the Nigerian mangrove forest and how man's transgressions against the environment have potentially unraveled the ecosystem beyond repair. 

On Thursday, March 7 at 7:15 p.m. the gallery will screen the documentary“Finding Fela,” the story of Fela Kuti, the Nigerian human rights activist and founder of Afro Pop. Guests will enjoy popcorn and wine. Tickets: $5

“When I open an exhibition I truly strive to explore the artist’s culture including, the food, music and more,” Urevbu explains. “Patrons have told us again and again how much the additional experience with the culture connects them with the artist and their artwork. We feel it too,” she adds. 

More information about the exhibition, artist and related events, please visit www.artvillagegallery.com


About Art Village Gallery 

Art Village Gallery is a contemporary fine art gallery located in the historic South Main Arts District in Memphis, Tenn. The gallery’s primary purpose is to support and promote the work of emerging international artists. Founded in 1991 by Ephraim Urevbu, Art Village Gallery was the first gallery and cornerstone of the South Main Arts District. Now managed by Sheila Urevbu, the gallery has established a reputation for designing and showcasing culturally significant exhibitions and experiences that inspire an appreciation for diversity and culture. For more information, visit www.artvillagegallery.com