Talent is synonymous with Africa. Both young, old male, and females from Africa possess innate blooming talents. And one of such people is a fantastic female visual artist who uses scraps of vibrant and colorful African print Ankara fabrics; to create intimate portraits that take into account the fragmented and varied inner lives of her muses. Lagos-based artist Marcellina Oseghale Akpojotor intricately weaves images based; on a labyrinth of patterns arranged in loose ripples and tufts; exquisitely creating a patchwork of color, texture and most importantly Art.
The textiles are popularly known as “African print fabrics”; and they have a strong cultural significance; and by matching the different motifs together, Akpojotor creates a shared visual memory. By reworking scraps of often discarded fabric into her work, her art takes on a whole new form as sustainable art; ensuring that pieces that would have taken up space in landfills as waste are recycled, incorporated and given new life.
Marcellina Akpojotor was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She had her first apprenticeship with her father where she assisted him with drawing, design, stencil, writing, and calligraphy work. Thereafter, She eventually follow in his footsteps and then enrolled at the Lagos State Polytechnic; where she studied Art and Industrial Design.
She has since created many works that explore femininity; and female empowerment and reflect her identity as a woman in today’s society. Her recent work, Daughter of Esan, depicts her family’s journey over five generations; (her great-grandmother, her grandmother, her mother, herself, and her daughter) to fulfill her great-grandmother’s then-radical wish to receive an education.
Set against an uncluttered, homely backdrop rendered in acrylic, the fiber-based figures are often cluttered with small blotches of paint as a way to “speak about the influence our environment has on shaping us as individuals,” shares Akpojotor. “They represent the connections we have with our background and immediate society and how these often ignored elements are part of our being.”
Moving through the connections between subjects and their environment is a recurring concern for the artist; whose work addresses the effects of the present; in addition to the ways in which personal histories and the actions of past generations have a lasting impact.
Akpojotor is represented by Rele Gallery, in California, where her work was on display in October. She is also currently working on pieces exploring how education affects women’s empowerment.