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Art Village Gallery opens exhibition by celebrated Nigerian artist Uchay Joel Chima
Uchay Joel Chima, Inhabitants of the Earth, 2018. Mixed media on canvas, 72 x 60 in.

MEMPHIS, TENN.- Art Village Gallery, known for presenting extraordinary international artwork, is launching another edition of its Out of Africa exhibition, bringing contemporary art from Africa and its Diaspora to the forefront. The exhibition features over 30 recent mixed media artworks by Nigeria-based artist, Uchay Joel Chima.

Chima is known for his eclectic use of alluring materials and unique artistic process, often questioning environmental and social issues around the world. Weaving a tapestry of memory, imagination, societal happenings and emotion, Chima combines various found objects including strings, sand, wax, charcoal, old sacks with paint and other mediums in an aesthetic that informs his works.

“If we look closely enough, we can find a link between all things,” says Chima. “Whether it is a link from one human to another, or an attachment to the environment and other living things, our relationship with material things, or the bond to the spiritual realm, everything is connected to everything else,” he explains “I am deeply fascinated with exploring these connections and am constantly looking for ways to reflect these linkages not only in the thematic expressions of my work but also in the use of materials and media.”

Art Village Gallery curator and owner, Sheila Urevbu, says she was drawn to Chima’s artworks because of the intriguing media he uses to push dialogue of his artwork. “Chima is like an alchemist who expertly combines each of his elements yielding the right balance of creativity and storytelling,” Urevbu says. “It’s always important to me that people who come to the gallery connect with the exhibitions and the gallery’s overall mission of inspiring an appreciation for diversity and culture.”

Throughout the exhibition, Art Village Gallery will feature events that further explore the culture that inspired the artworks, including a special “Dinner and Dialogue” on Saturday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m., featuring Nigerian cuisine, music and dialogue that challenges attendees position on culture, diversity and politics curated by Ericka DeBruce, Vice President of Engagement, Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility for Sedgwick Claims Management Service, Inc. Tickets are $75.

On February 14, “Art After Dark: Valentine’s Day Art Excursion,” showcasing live Afro Beats along with food, wine in an intimate setting, begins at 7:00pm. Tickets are $40.
On Friday, February 22 at 7:00 pm (Trolley Night) the gallery will host a book signing for Nigerian author and documentary photographer, Jerry Chidi. The book, “Man & Mangroves: An Environmental Awakening is a visual narrative that raises the social consciousness of the rapidly deteriorating condition of the Nigerian mangrove forest and how man’s transgressions against it has potentially unraveled the ecosystem beyond repair.

On Thursday, March 7 at 7:15 p.m. the gallery will screen the documentary “Finding Fela,” the story of Fela Kuti, the Nigerian human rights activist and founder of Afrobeat. Guests will enjoy popcorn and wine. Tickets: $5

“When we open an exhibition we truly strive to explore the artist’s culture including, the food, music and more,” Urevbu explains. “Patrons have told us again and again how much the additional experience with the culture connects them with the artist and their artwork. We feel it too,” she adds.

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