joshuaphysick
5th October 2018

On the cusp of something new: The Chuck Gallery

Josh Physick speaks with Chukwudi Onwudiwe, director of The Chuck Gallery, who is placing West African art at the forefront with the aim of changing the perspectives surrounding West Africa
On the cusp of something new: The Chuck Gallery
Photo: Josh Physick

The Chuck Gallery is an art space that provides a platform for non-euro centric art, encouraging interaction between the public and the colourful joy of contemporary West African art.

With the gallery only being a short walk from Oxford Road, it offers yet another facet to Manchester’s local art scene and sets a precedent for standards in international art.

In speaking with the gallery’s director Chukwudi Onwudiwe, I realised how only recently Nigerian artists have been given attention on the International Art Scene. The Royal Academy of Art, only last year, put on an exhibition showcasing West African art – their first in quite some years. Brilliantly The Chuck Gallery, which once was a gym, is now creating a hub of curiosity, providing a new presentation of the West African experience as established by a new generation of Nigerian artists.

The significance of having a gallery exhibit West African art in Manchester is not lost. It is a part of young Nigerian artists’ efforts to reclaim their identity through acknowledging their shared history with Britain. This is demonstrated in the painting, ‘Panoramic London’ which depicts the London city landscape, and subsequently seems almost incongruous in a gallery for West African art. Although it is not to be forgotten that London was a key part of the slave trade, and therefore had its own role in shaping West African identity.

The artist Akhile Ehiforia places his name on the canvas, reaffirming how the West African identity is tied to their sense of ‘britishness’, as the artist literally places himself alongside the likes of St Paul’s Cathedral. It also conveys the artist’s agency in explo.

ring his past, as the painting is his own portrayal of British landscape. As such, Nigerian artists are reinterpreting the West African experience for themselves.

Exhibiting at The Chuck Gallery offer artists to display their own unique interpretation of how their history continues to influence them, and combine this with their a contemporary perspective of the world. Confidentially redefining the West African experience and providing a liberating form of identity that is rich in variety.

 


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