How Nsibidi, Adinkra inspired me —Ameh Egwuh

Ameh Egwuh derives his inspiration from Nsibidi and Adinkra art signs and symbols from Ghana. Egwuh, a graduate of Fine and Applied Arts from Delta State University, Abraka, is a Benue indigene who majors in painting.

The Nsibidi and Adinkara art forms, he says, go beyond aesthetics but also carry individual meanings, proverbs and aphorism applicable to life.

Also, he wants to use the wisdom embedded in these signs and symbols to establish the fact that Africans are intelligent and civil, even before the coming of the Europeans.

He participated in the Young Contemporary Boot Camp organised by Rele Gallery in January, 2020, and he’s grateful to the organisers, because it gave him the opportunity to express his thoughts to the world.

“I am grateful to the team for picking me out of the over 25 artists who passed through the Young Contemporary Boot Camp, and this has built the zeal within me to stand out from the crowd,” he declares.

He opines art is one of the greatest tools for change in the society, particularly visual art, where ideas can be transmitted visually, defeating almost everything that might cause friction in communication such as language barrier.

“An artwork on a particular theme can bring conversation between people or sometimes it creates a debate which portrays the way and manner situations could be viewed.This change can be positive or negative which depends on the message being passed across through the piece of art and the individual who receives the message will view it differently, “ says the artist.

He likes the feeling art offers, especially working on canvas as a medium of expression which makes his painting like a book carrying information interpreted with lines and colours.

Also, art is a form of therapy for him as it calms him down from the first line to the last line, taking him on a new journey every time he creates a piece. Interestingly, he doesn’t have mentors but he is a product of learning and creating new boundaries, as he always discovers new things every day that is different from other artists around the world which excites and influences his art creations.

Besides, his art is illuminating as he likes adding colours to the world with his artworks. However, he has a different opinion if gallery owners exploit artists. He doesn’t agree to that, because there is a transaction and agreement between the artist and the gallery owner which they must sign.

“If the artist is not comfortable with the agreement, then he or she may leave and not sign the agreement. As long as there is no coercion between both parties, then there can be no exploitation on the part of the gallery owner. Gallery owners are doing their job, and they desire to make profit from it because it is like a business, “ he says.

Presently, he is currently working on a body of works entitled Solitude and Bliss, which talks about the beauty of silence and being alone which correlates with one of the basic requirements of defeating this pandemic, that is, social distancing.

“This body of works helps in killing the fear of being alone in a world where people celebrate social interactions over solitary existence. This is done by highlighting the importance of solitude such as it setting an individual on a journey or self-discovery and self-awareness in a world moving in so many directions, “ he says.

Some of the exhibitions he has attended include The Lagos Biennial, 2019; Art X Lagos, 2017 & 2018; When We Are Not What We Are by Sejiro Avoshe, 2018; Unspoken Rudiments by Dandelion Eghosa, 2019; and the Young Contemporaries, 2018.

For the up-and-coming artist, working with new artists is beautiful. It has given him the opportunity to meet new artistes with different ideologies about art and life. He has been able  to exchange ideas and the wonderful moments shared together during mentoring sessions.

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