Above: Drawing Memory, Havana biennial, 2015. Image by Victor Ekpuk.
The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is proud to host Victor Ekpuk, a Nigerian-born, Washington D.C.-based artist, from March 6 – 17. He will be painting Drawing Memory, a 58-foot long mural for the new African art galleries.
His art is inspired by nsibidi, a sacred means of communication among male secret societies in southeastern Nigeria. Evolving out of the graphic and writing systems of nsibidi, Ekpuk’s art embraces a wider spectrum of meaning to communicate universal themes.
“The subject matter of my work deals with the human condition explained through themes that are both universal and specific: family, gender, politics, culture and identity,” explains Ekpuk.
He reimagines graphic symbols from diverse cultures to form a personal style of mark making that results in the interplay of art and writing.
“Our centennial year continues with the reimagining of our African Gallery. Victor’s art will set the stage for the Brooks’ collection of the Art of Africa in a dynamic, thought-provoking way,”
said Executive Director Emily Ballew Neff.
Museum visitors are invited to watch him create the mural that will be on the third floor of the museum across from the hands-on family art gallery–Inside Art. Visitors are also invited to a gallery talk featuring Ekpuk on Saturday, March 11 at 1 p.m., which is during the museum’s annual ChalkFest.
This mural begins the renovation of the African Gallery, which will culminate in Fall 2017 with a reinstallation organized by Dr. Christa Clarke, Senior African Curator at the Newark Museum.
“We are thrilled to be reinstalling the African Gallery with Drawing Memory as the centerpiece. Victor has been an artist in residence at museums across the country and visitors have been inspired and deeply moved by watching him work,” said Chief Curator Marina Pacini. “Memphians too will enjoy the experience of seeing a work of art being made, especially one that is designed specifically for the Brooks and the city. The process is fascinating, which is why we will post time-lapse footage of his progress daily.”
Ekpuk’s artworks are in such collections as the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, Newark Museum, The World Bank, Hood Museum, Krannert Art Museum, United States Art in Embassies Art Collection and Fidelity Investment Art Collection.
Founded in 1916 and located at 1934 Poplar Ave. in historic Overton Park, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art is home to Tennessee’s oldest and largest major collection of world art. More than 10,000 works make up the Brooks Museum’s permanent collection, including works from ancient Greece, Rome and the Americas; Renaissance masterpieces from Italy; English portraiture; American painting and decorative arts; contemporary art; and a survey of African art. The Brooks Museum enriches the lives of our diverse community through the museum’s expanding collection, varied exhibitions, and dynamic programs that reflect the art of world cultures from antiquity to the present. For more information about the Brooks and all other exhibitions and programs, call 901.544.6200 or visit www.brooksmuseum.org.