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Uchay Chima preaches intimacy with 'String Hypothesis'

By Udemma Chukwuma
Uchay Joel Chima can be described as one of the established artists in Nigeria. Over the last couple of years, the Lagos based painter has been making waves in the art scene, as well as in the international art stage. He is a multi-media artist who explores various medium such as charcoal, thread, paint, wax, sand and multiplicities objects.

He tells Arts and Culture Place that he is not the type to be constraint by materials.

“Each project often consists of multiple works, in a range of different media, grouped around specific themes and meanings. During research and production, new areas of interest arise and lead to the next body of work,” Chima explains.

String Hypothesis is the title of his ongoing art exhibition at the IICD Centre in Abuja. The art show, which opened Thursday, May 12, consists twenty-five of his recent works. The exhibition will run till Sunday, May 30, 2016.

Humans, he says, are designed for making connections. “In the work, Damsels, I elected to work with materials that I believe are synonymous with the notions of bonding, togetherness, intimacy, friendship and entanglement; strings and thread.

Chima graduated in 1997 from the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu, where he studied Fine and Applied Art. He unveils paintings and thought provoking installations that dissect the anatomy of realities around us whilst employing conventional and unconventional approaches in his restless exploration.

Dwelling in Abundance
“I enjoy spending quiet moments observing nature and my environment, exploring shapes, colours and designs; my interpretation of objects and subjects that are delightful to the eyes, I transfer to boards and canvases poetically,” he says.

Chima’s artworks have continued to evolve, remaining relevant to developments in contemporary art. The artist has also been developing a body of work using video since 2008.

He is currently working on short films and a project called Residue Collection of Societal and Environmental Mishaps (HABITAT LOSS). The project according to him aims at promoting and creating awareness concerning contemporary lifestyle, both with regard to socio-economic circumstance and environmental conservation.
His works have exhibited in Nigeria, South Africa, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.

He also talks about the focus of his works; “When working on environmental issues, lots of things flood my mind. Environmental impediments don’t just show up but like a chain reaction, one abnormality hooks up with another side of life and erupts leaving us with a deformed society marked by homelessness, loneliness, hunger, insecurity, violence, war, including environmental disasters like erosion menace.
Some of Chima's works on display

“The above, most often, are the things that inform my work. While I use a variety of materials and processes in each project my methodology is consistent. Although there may not always be material similarities between the different projects, they are linked by recurring formal concerns and through the subject matter. The subject matter of each body of work determines the materials and the forms of the work.”

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