Works by Victor Ekpuk
Temporary Exhibitions, Lathrop and Jaffe Galleries
Nigerian-born artist Victor Ekpuk is best known for his improvisational use of nsibidi, a form of ideographic writing associated with Ekpe, the powerful, interethnic men’s association active in the southern border regions of Nigeria and Cameroon. Though familiar to him since his childhood, Ekpuk’s aesthetic engagement with nsibidi emerged during his fine art studies at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife, Nigeria, where students were encouraged to explore the logics of pattern and design in indigenous African art forms. Ekpuk’s fascination with nsibidi during these years—its economy of line and encoded meanings—led to his broader explorations of the visual properties of linguistic signs and to the invention of his own fluid letterforms. As a mature artist, Ekpuk has so internalized the rhythm and contours of his “script” that it flows from his hand like the outpouring of a personal archive.
This exhibition was organized by Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and curated by Allyson Purpura. It is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The exhibition's presentation at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, was generously supported by the Leon C. 1927, Charles L. 1955, and Andrew J. 1984 Greenebaum Fund and the Cissy Patterson Fund.
Curated by Dr. Allyson Purpura, Curator of African Art at Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois / Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Curator of African Art
Related Educator Resource
- Inventory: New Works and Conversations around African Art
- Ukara: Ritual Cloth of the Ekpe Secret Society
- Hood Quarterly, "Auto-Graphics: Works by Victor Ekpuk"
- Hood Quarterly, "Ukara: Ritual Cloth of the Ekpe Secret Society"
- Hood Quarterly, "A Conversation with Victor Ekpuk"