Born in 1968 in Enugu, Nigeria. Works and lives in Freiburg, Germany
Emeka Udemba is graduated with a degree in art from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1991, and runs a vibrant art studio in Freiburg, Germany. Through his painting, photography, video, installations and performances, Udemba explores the intersection of images and structures as a means of gaining deeper insight into how identity and culture affect our sense of collective consciousness.
Udemba’s works investigate imaginary worlds and rethink the boundaries of the archetypal. Udemba has exhibited in Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Italy, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, Indonesia and Taiwan. His works have been celebrated internationally, including at the 11th Mercosu Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil and the 13th Dak’Art Biennale Senegal (2018), Osmosis Festival, Taipei, Taiwan (2017), Mediations Biennale, Poland (2016) and at the Jogha Biennale, Indones. Udemba has curated important international art projects and received Special Mention for the Best Art Practices Award for young curators, for the project Lagos Open, in Bolzano, Italy (2007).
“Often people of color like me who live outside of our native countries are always confronted with questions of legibility, illegibility and stereotypes. As migrants we are thrust into the position of the alien, ‘the other’. My works reflect on the construction of subjectivity of ‘the other’ and how this is influenced by information around us. They embody my ongoing exploration with painting, photography, performance, video and installation to address issues of my own identity and a sense of place in the world. While moving between realities, my works explore the theme ‘identity’ in an expansive form to interrogate issues of geographical, cultural and social belonging.
Through my paintings, I channel the vibrancy of hybrid cultures and relativity through snippets of published media worked randomly into compositions that reference layers of meanings, race, gender, history, memory, time and beauty.
They are like calculated accidents, interacting between colors, transparencies, words and textures which outcomes are sometimes better or worse than I foresee. In these works a sense of dislocation, adaptation, possibilities and manipulation of information come through.”
Relying on appropriated form, published materials such as newspapers, books and photographs; Emeka Udemba explores visual representation and subjectivity in relation to history and personal narrative. He addresses the way information is filtered through the mechanisms that define the construction and representation of identity. His paintings vibrate with layers of information and movement, allowing planned structures and chance encounters to come together into an unapologetically beautiful critical art.