Like & Share:

Garden of Portraits.

Garden of Portraits.

Garden of Portraits.

Garden of Portraits.

Chukwuka Nwobi is typically known to tell stories with his work and has done so since he appeared on the scene. . Exclusively released on Nataal, The Garden of Portraits, is an ode to immigrant families and the disconnection that comes with their status. In collaboration with writer Adjoa Armah, Nwobi implores us to find the power in our individual experiences and work.

The Garden of portraits begins here:

"In my mother’s visits, it appears that only loved ones back home were able or willing to travel across continents to bid her farewell. Friends and relatives in Toronto, Arkansas or Rome evidently found the phone a much more appropriate technology than ghostly apparitions for news of their passing to be transmitted. Despite my thoroughly modern, very westernised, rational and somewhat mechanistic outlook, I grew up in a home within which ghosts would occasionally appear. Disbelief was not enough to quieten them. It did not matter that I didn’t believe in them. They believed in me.
For those of us at home and in the diaspora, ghosts do something productive. Always placed in a social network and part of a larger collective spirit. The meaning of a place depends on the ghosts we locate there, and connect with there. To remain connected in a world that requires ego. What a task. Perhaps our ghosts are the key. The ancestors never leave; our parents never stop listening. They hold on while giving us the room to be. Just be. Be in the knowledge that there is no risk of getting completely lost, straying too far, becoming untethered. They hold on without interfering too much. A love that says, "Be free, but I've got you". 

Our editor caught up with Chukwuka for quick chat at 16by16 for a brief chat and he was clear and pleasant as per usual.....

You tend to tell stories through your pictures, but the Garden of portraits is different this time as it comes with more text than usual. What's the story behind the book, and how did it come about?

One day, Oroma Elewa commented on one of one Adjoa posts which was a photograph of a lady carrying stuff on her head in Ghana, and her caption was about how African women are able to balance a lot on their shoulders metaphorically, and i found that really intriguing. So i reached out to her, ran through my pictures and ideas for the book, and left the rest to her. At first it wasn't about ghosts, it was about individuality but she refurbished it and that's how we got here.

Would you say your work has changed since you began your journey? . I remember some of your earlier stuff, and i feel like it's evolved with your new work....

Yes, definitely. As at last year, i feel like i was finding myself as a photographer. Although i don't consider myself a photographer anymore,but rather an artist, i've seen my work grow from taking simple portraits of girls to creating work that exhibits conceptual ideas about the female gaze, that is, how they see themselves and their surroundings.

About the female gaze, all the subjects of your works have been women, why is that?

I feel like Nigerian women are very beautiful, not just physically but rather in the way they exist. A Nigerian woman can be very hip and stylish, and yet be traditionally inclined if that makes any sense, you'll see it in their manners, the ideas that have been instilled in them from a young age regardless of whatever experiences they have had after that.

Your portraits in the book are dark and unrefined compared to your previous work, and they're also reminiscent of 90's Nollywood posters. Were they a point of inspiration when you were working on this project?

It's funny you should say that because i wondered if it was obvious. During the process of making the book i was moving between the Nollywood aesthetic to Lagos street looks. My work has always been very polished ,while trying to make the girls look very beautiful and luxurious,but now it's about capturing what is raw and what is real, if you feel me. With the advent of NollyBabes and Mowalola , i was subconsciously being fed visually, and i believe that's why my work turned out like it did.

So Chuka, where do you see yourself in the next year?

I'm more focused on the book right now, which is a combination of what I've been doing overtime which is a culmination of photography, creative direction, and literature, being that i started off with writing. With  Adjoa, i'll be exhibiting The Garden of Portraits in Accra at the Chale Wote festival, after that i'll start my next project which will be a short film, and by next year i see myself exhibiting at film festivals internationally.

Have you exhibited any films in Lagos?

Yes i have, but not as sole projects, but rather as accompaniments . Anytime i create a visual project, i make stills ,as well as moving visuals that go along with it, so if i have any exhibitions, i have them on display there.

I believe the first one was the one with Deto?

Yes, it's funny how it all started with me, Deto and a camera, and this was like last year. Since then it's just been from growth to growth and i'm looking forward to much more.

The physical copy of the Garden of Portraits will be up for sale at the Waffles&Cream "FAMILY&FRIENDS" exhibition this Friday, but you can read the rest of it here on Nataal

http://nataal.com/garden-of-portraits

Garden of Portraits.

Arts & Culture

August 15, 2018

Garden of Portraits.

WRITTEN BY:

Eparapo

Chukwuka Nwobi is typically known to tell stories with his work and has done so since he appeared on the scene. . Exclusively released on Nataal, The Garden of Portraits, is an ode to immigrant families and the disconnection that comes with their status. In collaboration with writer Adjoa Armah, Nwobi implores us to find the power in our individual experiences and work.

The Garden of portraits begins here:

"In my mother’s visits, it appears that only loved ones back home were able or willing to travel across continents to bid her farewell. Friends and relatives in Toronto, Arkansas or Rome evidently found the phone a much more appropriate technology than ghostly apparitions for news of their passing to be transmitted. Despite my thoroughly modern, very westernised, rational and somewhat mechanistic outlook, I grew up in a home within which ghosts would occasionally appear. Disbelief was not enough to quieten them. It did not matter that I didn’t believe in them. They believed in me.
For those of us at home and in the diaspora, ghosts do something productive. Always placed in a social network and part of a larger collective spirit. The meaning of a place depends on the ghosts we locate there, and connect with there. To remain connected in a world that requires ego. What a task. Perhaps our ghosts are the key. The ancestors never leave; our parents never stop listening. They hold on while giving us the room to be. Just be. Be in the knowledge that there is no risk of getting completely lost, straying too far, becoming untethered. They hold on without interfering too much. A love that says, "Be free, but I've got you". 

Our editor caught up with Chukwuka for quick chat at 16by16 for a brief chat and he was clear and pleasant as per usual.....

You tend to tell stories through your pictures, but the Garden of portraits is different this time as it comes with more text than usual. What's the story behind the book, and how did it come about?

One day, Oroma Elewa commented on one of one Adjoa posts which was a photograph of a lady carrying stuff on her head in Ghana, and her caption was about how African women are able to balance a lot on their shoulders metaphorically, and i found that really intriguing. So i reached out to her, ran through my pictures and ideas for the book, and left the rest to her. At first it wasn't about ghosts, it was about individuality but she refurbished it and that's how we got here.

Would you say your work has changed since you began your journey? . I remember some of your earlier stuff, and i feel like it's evolved with your new work....

Yes, definitely. As at last year, i feel like i was finding myself as a photographer. Although i don't consider myself a photographer anymore,but rather an artist, i've seen my work grow from taking simple portraits of girls to creating work that exhibits conceptual ideas about the female gaze, that is, how they see themselves and their surroundings.

About the female gaze, all the subjects of your works have been women, why is that?

I feel like Nigerian women are very beautiful, not just physically but rather in the way they exist. A Nigerian woman can be very hip and stylish, and yet be traditionally inclined if that makes any sense, you'll see it in their manners, the ideas that have been instilled in them from a young age regardless of whatever experiences they have had after that.

Your portraits in the book are dark and unrefined compared to your previous work, and they're also reminiscent of 90's Nollywood posters. Were they a point of inspiration when you were working on this project?

It's funny you should say that because i wondered if it was obvious. During the process of making the book i was moving between the Nollywood aesthetic to Lagos street looks. My work has always been very polished ,while trying to make the girls look very beautiful and luxurious,but now it's about capturing what is raw and what is real, if you feel me. With the advent of NollyBabes and Mowalola , i was subconsciously being fed visually, and i believe that's why my work turned out like it did.

So Chuka, where do you see yourself in the next year?

I'm more focused on the book right now, which is a combination of what I've been doing overtime which is a culmination of photography, creative direction, and literature, being that i started off with writing. With  Adjoa, i'll be exhibiting The Garden of Portraits in Accra at the Chale Wote festival, after that i'll start my next project which will be a short film, and by next year i see myself exhibiting at film festivals internationally.

Have you exhibited any films in Lagos?

Yes i have, but not as sole projects, but rather as accompaniments . Anytime i create a visual project, i make stills ,as well as moving visuals that go along with it, so if i have any exhibitions, i have them on display there.

I believe the first one was the one with Deto?

Yes, it's funny how it all started with me, Deto and a camera, and this was like last year. Since then it's just been from growth to growth and i'm looking forward to much more.

The physical copy of the Garden of Portraits will be up for sale at the Waffles&Cream "FAMILY&FRIENDS" exhibition this Friday, but you can read the rest of it here on Nataal

http://nataal.com/garden-of-portraits

Related Stories:

05

.

21

-

Music

Review : Mandy and The Jungle

04

.

14

-

Arts & Culture

Black Utopia

02

.

20

-

Arts & Culture

Extract: Eye to Eye (Black Women, Hatred and Anger)

02

.

16

-

Arts & Culture

Fiyin Segun

Sign up TO RECEIVE news & updates.