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I am interested in social and environmental issues-Uchay Chima

One of the works on display
It would have been a terrible mistake some years back to work with medium such as fabric, iron strings, newspaper, foil, as well as charcoal as an artist in Nigeria. This has changed; art is revolving and gaining more appreciation. 

New techniques and styles are emerging everyday; more Nigerian artists are now free to experiment with other medium because they know the work will be appreciated and that they will smile to the bank. Uchay Joel Chima is one of those artists who struggled against all odds to breakout from the usual medium people are familiar with to create extraordinary works with materials which people will normally call common. His reason for working with this medium Chima said he chooses to work with materials anyone can relate to. “I want to create art that can be appreciated anywhere in the world.”  

His work focuses on social and environmental issues. “I am interested in social and environmental issues. When working on environmental issues, lots of things flood my mind. In an era where global upheaval, whether nature, economic or social are the issues of the day, I am of the view that humans have contributed to a large extent to the cause of environmental degradation, and it will also require the contribution of humans to fight these ills. 

In Chima’s ongoing solo art exhibition “Revisions” which opened on Friday, June 5th, at the SugarCube Building, Denver, United States of America (USA), over thirty works, featuring a selection of his recent mixed media works such as charcoal briquettes, newspaper scraps, and twine are still on view until August 28. 

During the open reception of the exhibition
Sharing his experience during the opening reception with Arts and Culture Place recently in Lagos, Chima described the opening as one of his best. “The hall was filled with people, it was a massive opening,” said the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) graduate. 

The curator of the exhibition and African art historian, Janine Sytsma, described the transformation process represented in Chima’s work, where “devastation becomes the catalyst for reinvention.” Using materials from his Nigerian environment, Chima responds to various socio-political issues, from environmental disasters to social injustices. “Chima acknowledges a history of degradation in Nigeria and elsewhere, but refuses to allow that history to define the current reality,” explains Sytsma. “Instead, he imbues his work with a sense of beauty, hope, and promise.”

Chima has exhibited his work in prominent galleries in Nigeria, South Africa, the United States, and Canada. The exhibition is organised by the staff of the SugarCube Building with the curatorial assistance of Janine Sytsma.

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