Very rarely do I get startstruck. However, I have been completely captivated by the artistry of Ndidikanma Emefiele! I am so gracious that she has allowed us to get to know her! She is one of West Africa's freshest sensations and is definitely putting Delta State (Nigeria) on the map. Ndidi gave us the opportunity to speak with her about her journey and training as an artist and even how she feels about social media in conjunction with her brand.
Give us a few sentences on your professional background and/or training.
I am developing my practice both in the studio and in my academic pursuit. I'm currently running a master of fine arts at Slade in University College London. I do have some exhibitions lined up so I keep working basically, I love making arts. Immersing myself in the intriguing world of art it's informing and transforming. Its beauty worth engulfing oneself in.
When was it that you truly started to take your creative talents seriously?
Seriously was quite early. It was when I began participating in local art completions, realizing making art was something I didn't grow tired of doing, even at my lows. I was truly passionate about it and it was imperative so I sought to pursue it long term. Emerging top place at the most prestigious art competition in the federal capital territory when I was in my last year in secondary school sort of solidified my reason and was the confirmation for my parents to pledge their full support.
What are your origins/roots? Are you a Nigerian? From which state?
I'm 100% Nigerian. My both parents are from delta state.
Of all the places (studios) your art has been shown, which one would you say is your favorite? Why?
Hmmm.. that would be most recently at Woburn, which is the research and development centre at Slade. Where I had a painting of a woman's naked body covered with a transparent floating tulle skirt pinned to the floor by tubes of paint. It certainly wasn't my usual way of displaying my work, I had always stuck to the conventional. Being at Slade is definitely challenging some of those notions and ways of doing so I will be trying a bunch of things in the coming months.
You have such a unique aesthetic and a lot of your paintings give such a realistic but abstract depiction of women. Are you inspired by any particular person to create these images?
I'm inspired by real experiences, often I employ themes of fantasy derived from facts in questioning the representation of women in diverse context. As a woman interaction with other women enables you to see from different perspectives on the pressures women are often confronted with the social, cultural to religious, often very constricting and raising questions of identity, enslavement, empowerment . I like to use images, collages and forms to reframe the image of the woman.
How much influence do you think Africa gives the entire art world from photography, sculpture, painting, ect?
Africa plays a major role. African arts has an immeasurable depth, it spans through centuries unaccounted for,imbedded with history and cultures of a people so dynamic it has been a resource and inspiration of artist of old including the great Picasso.in fashion as well, it has been a good resource.african and tribal prints is currently the biggest thing on the runway,brands like Burberry, Galliano and so many others have incorporated that into their designs. Some of the most iconic photographs of national geographic were taken in Africa. You wouldn't find culture so rich and diverse else where. Nigeria alone boast 250 ethic groups. Africa has an enormous reserve from which you can continuously draw and has long served as an inspiration.
What message could you give a budding artist or any creative wanting to truly pursue their craft?
l'd say let your passion for it motivate you, it should be the driving force. A fellow artist given a talk once said "if you struggle to make art,then stop it. Find something it else to do".let your art be a true representation of you and your ideas. It should be self expressed. A lot of younger artist fall into the boat of trying to paint like some one else or making copy arts. Let others inspire you as you find you.
Are you a fan of social media? How do you feel it can hurt or help get your art out there for people to view?
Social media has been instrumental in building and breaking careers. Although more of the positive I should think. It's an awareness tool ,and I cant say I have used it effectively in projecting my works. I'm a little old school and there's just too many social media platforms to keep out with. You are not done trying figure out how one works and it gets overtaken by another and unto the next. I'm active on Facebook as that was the first I got onto. Partially active on whatsapp, dormant on Instagram, still can't figure twitter out. I think social media is as good as you use it.
What is your definition of a composer? Do you feel you are one in your own right?
Well, may be now that you put it that way. I have never thought to consider making in relationship to composing. I have thought of my studio as the fitting room, a lab and many other things.thats where it all comes together. Perharps if one consumes or engages with the art as music then may be the artist becomes the composer. I remain an artist though.