Ngozi-Omeje Ezema

Artist Statement

My practice as a ceramist spans years spent evolving from the use of the potter’s wheel to a production combining pinching, tying, hanging and wrapping as a technique of working this material, clay. This shift in practice and technique gave room for the experimental spirit in me to soar. Thus, being limited in describing my world in its societal evolution through utilitarian wares like cups, plates and vases, I tilted towards more open-ended and discursive means – ceramic Installation. So, the tendency to explore is inherent in the art works produced.

Furthermore, through the course of my practice and research, I came up with the idea of using globular clay units attached to strings to configure unique ceramic forms. This is to act upon the impression and the limitation that tying creates in my memories; I redirected the energy of the string into life-giving force to exorcise the negative impression of tying, binding and ownership. The string gives life to my works, as if allowing challenges to be sources of strength. Through this, I have created many works with strings in different dimensions with diverse stories to tell.

Using strings to produce my installations depicts this very life on a balance. Thereby, reassessing the frailty of life with the use of strings as a source of life to the suspended artworks.

— Ngozi-Omeje Ezema

Bio

Ngozi-Omeje Ezema graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2005, Department of Fine Applied Arts. She also obtained her Masters of Fine Arts in the same Institution. After the completion of her MFA, she was retained in her Alma Mata to teach Ceramics since May, 2009. As an MFA student, she participated in a two-week international workshop (Aftershave International Workshop –Triangle Art Trust), Nigeria, 2008. She participated in the international women workshop (Art in the Dailies) –Goethe Institute, Ghana, 2009. Hence, she has participated in several other international workshops: CCA Lagos/Triangle International Artist Workshop, Nigeria, Art in Public Space on Ecology, Goethe Institute, Nigeria. Furthermore, she was a resident artist in Sevshoon Art Centre, Seattle, USA, 2010 and configured the ‘Think Tea, Think cup I’ as a permanent installation.

Her works of art are configured with globular clay units, clay rings, clay leaves, strings and savaged flip flops from her environment, using them to accentuate her place in her immediate socio-cultural context. These artworks are paradox of hope and despair, depicting how strength is drawn from pain and disappointment, thereby dialoguing between the two concepts.

Currently Ngozi-Omeje is selected to participate in the main exhibition, Dakar Biennale 2020 in Senegal.
On concluding her solo exhibition ‘Connecting Deep’ at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, she was selected to participate in the ongoing Korea Ceramics Biennale, Icheon World Ceramics Centre and Cheongju Craft Biennale, 2019, South Korea respectively. She was part of Saatchi START Art Fair and 60th Faenza Biennale Prize Italy, 2018. Her Ceramic installation ‘Imagine Jonah II’ was part of the First International Biennale in Central China and ‘In My Garden there are Many Colours II’ –First West African Art Fair (ART X), Lagos, 2016. In addition, “Le Pinceau De L’Integration” , Senegal, Dakar Biennale, 2016.