Modern & Contemporary African Art | and CCA Lagos Benefit Auction

Modern & Contemporary African Art | and CCA Lagos Benefit Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 65. Plant Form from Uli Grove; Factories and houses.

Uche Okeke

Plant Form from Uli Grove; Factories and houses

Lot Closed

March 22, 04:05 PM GMT


4,000 - 6,000 GBP

Lot Details


Uche Okeke



(i) Plant Form from Uli Grove, 1989

(ii) Factories and houses, 1958

(i) signed and dated 1989 (lower right); titled, dated and numbered #82 (on the reverse)

gouache and pencil on paper

26.5 by 21cm., 10½ by 8¼in.

framed: 46.5 by 40.5cm., 18¼ by 16in.

(ii) signed and dated 1958 (lower right); dated 5/4/58 (upper right)

watercolor and pencil on paper

14 by 19cm., 5½ by 7½in.

framed: 37.5 by 42.5cm., 14¾ by 16¾in.

Private collection, Johannesburg

"We must fight to free ourselves from mirroring foreign culture. This great work demands willpower, originality, and above all, love of our fatherland. We must have our own school of art independent of European and Oriental Schools, but drawing as much as possible from what we consider in our judgement to be the cream of these influences, and wedding them to our native art culture." (Uche Okeke, Art in Development, 1959)

For Uche Okeke, the growth of contemporary art in his home country of Nigeria was irrevocably tied to the country’s greater prosperity; the artist was a staunch advocate for the role of the arts in the development of a nation. Born in Northern Nigeria in 1933, Okeke’s practice was deeply influenced by his Igbo culture, particularly by the folklore shared with him by his mother and sister, as well as by Uli, an aesthetic tradition from south-eastern Nigeria focusing on the Igbo female form. The artist learned this technique from his mother who was a celebrated Uli draughtswoman. Okeke would later become the father of the revival of Uli technique in contemporary Nigerian art. His time as a professor at the University of Nigeria would be a tenure branded by the rise of the Uli Revivalist Movement. Developing in the wake of the Nigerian Civil war, members sought to achieve a radical reassertion of Igbo ethnicity.