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Why I paint for the rich ĖTony Nsofor

Posted by By TESSY OKOYE on 2006/01/22 | Views: 600 |

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Why I paint for the rich ĖTony Nsofor


Tony, who has taken part in many group exhibitions within and outside the country spoke to Daily Sun in his gallery in Lekki, about his love for nature, why he paints for the rich and why art as cultural tool should be aimed at the human soul.

Tony, who has taken part in many group exhibitions within and outside the country spoke to Daily Sun in his gallery in Lekki, about his love for nature, why he paints for the rich and why art as cultural tool should be aimed at the human soul.

Background

My name is Tony Nsofor. I am from Imo State. I am the first son in a family of five. My primary education was done in different schools. This was because at a point in my childhood years, I became very sickly and my parents wanted me to go to school in a conducive environment. I attended Holy Ghost College Owerri and Federal Government College Okigwe, Imo State respectively for my secondary education. I later gained admission to study art at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and graduated in 1977. Since then, I have been practicing as an artist.


My name is Tony Nsofor. I am from Imo State. I am the first son in a family of five. My primary education was done in different schools. This was because at a point in my childhood years, I became very sickly and my parents wanted me to go to school in a conducive environment. I attended Holy Ghost College Owerri and Federal Government College Okigwe, Imo State respectively for my secondary education. I later gained admission to study art at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and graduated in 1977. Since then, I have been practicing as an artist.

My family, especially my father wanted me to be a lawyer, like him.

He had expectations among which is that I take over his chambers when he retires. But I wanted to become an artist. I enjoyed painting, and there were some wonderful visions I used to have whenever I sat under the moonlight, playing in the sand. They were wonderful visions of figures formed in the sky. At that point, I was the only person seeing the figures, because when I asked my siblings, they would just wonder at what I was doing. It was at that time that it dawned on me that I was gifted. At ten, I had started painting portraits of my mother. I set out early in life to struggle for everything and to be my dream.

Inspiration

I am fascinated by nature. I usually see figures in the sky as a child. But somehow, maybe because I am short sighted, I look deeper into things than other people do. Basically, my inspiration comes from looking at the awesome work of God; appreciating it and trying to create a new world from it. I have never been the one to do categorisation, but then, I look at myself as a hybrid with a different style.


I am fascinated by nature. I usually see figures in the sky as a child. But somehow, maybe because I am short sighted, I look deeper into things than other people do. Basically, my inspiration comes from looking at the awesome work of God; appreciating it and trying to create a new world from it. I have never been the one to do categorisation, but then, I look at myself as a hybrid with a different style.

Kind of work

My works are based on crystalisation. I like painting figures that have no boundary with their environment, because they are unlimited in the ways they exist. My works are not removed from everyday activities in the society. They are also based on history, experiences, love, politics and sometimes, critical of the society. Most times when my works come out very aggressively, they are used to make certain statements, for or against certain situations that ought not to be. My works sometime make statements on fashion.


My works are based on crystalisation. I like painting figures that have no boundary with their environment, because they are unlimited in the ways they exist. My works are not removed from everyday activities in the society. They are also based on history, experiences, love, politics and sometimes, critical of the society. Most times when my works come out very aggressively, they are used to make certain statements, for or against certain situations that ought not to be. My works sometime make statements on fashion.

Time for painting

It depends on my mood at a point in time, and the mood in the environment that I am creating. The romantic idea is that artists paint in the night. To an extent, it is true, because I get some beautiful ideas at night. I feel fulfilled whenever I finish any work, first thing in the morning before the break of dawn. I get my inspiration before twilight.


It depends on my mood at a point in time, and the mood in the environment that I am creating. The romantic idea is that artists paint in the night. To an extent, it is true, because I get some beautiful ideas at night. I feel fulfilled whenever I finish any work, first thing in the morning before the break of dawn. I get my inspiration before twilight.

Communication through art

It is like writing, but this time it comes through colors, using visual language. But then, you need some schooling for you to communicate through colors, because colors have its own therapeutic powers. You would find out that in psychiatric homes, they employ the use of certain colour traits. Even in the hospital, they tend to create an environment of serenity and ambience, to help ease the mind from pain. The same thing art does with colours. Black is synonymous with the black African culture. Art is very cultural, and the meaning of an artwork can not be removed from its environment.


It is like writing, but this time it comes through colors, using visual language. But then, you need some schooling for you to communicate through colors, because colors have its own therapeutic powers. You would find out that in psychiatric homes, they employ the use of certain colour traits. Even in the hospital, they tend to create an environment of serenity and ambience, to help ease the mind from pain. The same thing art does with colours. Black is synonymous with the black African culture. Art is very cultural, and the meaning of an artwork can not be removed from its environment.

Exhibition

I have done several group exhibitions. There was one with some six new painters from Nsukka. There was also one, held in honour of Prof. Uche Okeke at the National Museum. Prof. Uche Okeke finished from Zaria, and came to Nsukka to set up the Art curriculum. He developed the Art department. There was Uli exhibition, held at the Pendulum Gallery, Lekki, which later moved on to South Africa where I also participated.


I have done several group exhibitions. There was one with some six new painters from Nsukka. There was also one, held in honour of Prof. Uche Okeke at the National Museum. Prof. Uche Okeke finished from Zaria, and came to Nsukka to set up the Art curriculum. He developed the Art department. There was Uli exhibition, held at the Pendulum Gallery, Lekki, which later moved on to South Africa where I also participated.

How is your work celebrated

It is my hope and prayer that my work becomes as easy as lingua franca. That is, become acceptable to the common man. Occasionally, I think it is a little on the high side for the common man. I also realize that every prize that is put on anything also depends on the individualís perception and taste. The cost of my painting is not just material or physical costs alone. There is more to it, depending on an individualís perception and appreciation.


It is my hope and prayer that my work becomes as easy as lingua franca. That is, become acceptable to the common man. Occasionally, I think it is a little on the high side for the common man. I also realize that every prize that is put on anything also depends on the individualís perception and taste. The cost of my painting is not just material or physical costs alone. There is more to it, depending on an individualís perception and appreciation.

Cultural exchange

Style is synanimous with movement, and I want my work to be a panorama. A scene that changes as you moves. I want my work to be stable which means that the eyes would not get bored or easily accustomed to the scene. I want to excite my audience. The tendency is for them not to grasp or comprehend the message of the work at first glance. Because we are living things, with every part of us mobile. So, there should be art works that captures every movement, not just one pose and that is my style. When I have caught all the movements of your body in one painting, I have a sense of fulfillment that, at least I have got close to who you are inside.

Art as a cultural tool

Art is becoming more of a tool for cultural exchange. It is becoming more of an identity, as people are finding it important to belong somewhere. With globalisation, boundaries are breaking down and the cold war between America and Russia is almost long forgotten. Technological advancement is awesome and with all these, arose the need to be identified. Art is something that can be carried along. In talking about art generally, every aspect of it like Fine and Applied Art, Theatre etc, gives the picture of where a generation is coming from, where it is going and makes where they are going clearer. Art has become a way of writing your own history based on things that you come across through self-development.


Art is becoming more of a tool for cultural exchange. It is becoming more of an identity, as people are finding it important to belong somewhere. With globalisation, boundaries are breaking down and the cold war between America and Russia is almost long forgotten. Technological advancement is awesome and with all these, arose the need to be identified. Art is something that can be carried along. In talking about art generally, every aspect of it like Fine and Applied Art, Theatre etc, gives the picture of where a generation is coming from, where it is going and makes where they are going clearer. Art has become a way of writing your own history based on things that you come across through self-development.

State of art in the country

It is getting better, because more and more houses are being built, and they must be decorated. More people are being born which means arts has a larger audience.


It is getting better, because more and more houses are being built, and they must be decorated. More people are being born which means arts has a larger audience.

Fortunately, we are in the information age and boundaries are falling every where. So, art as a tool for marketing becomes easier to move around, tranversing distance and heartlands.

Message

I think it is high time the messages of art works, that of the artist or he is inspired invoke social development. Art thrives in a working system, but if the system is not working, art rebels against it.


I think it is high time the messages of art works, that of the artist or he is inspired invoke social development. Art thrives in a working system, but if the system is not working, art rebels against it.

Challenges

I crave for a better market for my works. I have occasionally being discouraged, but I realized that it is just part of life. One has to keep going to make things better. Challenges are not really peculiar to an artist, it is something that happens to people that have chosen a particular profession as a means of livelihood.


I crave for a better market for my works. I have occasionally being discouraged, but I realized that it is just part of life. One has to keep going to make things better. Challenges are not really peculiar to an artist, it is something that happens to people that have chosen a particular profession as a means of livelihood.

Target audience

Those that have the power to bring about change are my audience. Some might describe it as a buorgeoissie thing which is meant only for the rich. Yes, I quite agree with that, because they are the ones that implement these laws and they impact on the society. If I can get my messages to them, then the poor man on the street would have a better means of survival. I want it to reach those that can improve on the situations in the society.


Those that have the power to bring about change are my audience. Some might describe it as a buorgeoissie thing which is meant only for the rich. Yes, I quite agree with that, because they are the ones that implement these laws and they impact on the society. If I can get my messages to them, then the poor man on the street would have a better means of survival. I want it to reach those that can improve on the situations in the society.

Future goal

To create or paint works that would last so long as to challenge the conscience of the nation. Not just the nation but the continent. My desire is to touch lives every day. Everyday, I believe that I am getting better. Everyday, I get nearer to achieving my dreams.


To create or paint works that would last so long as to challenge the conscience of the nation. Not just the nation but the continent. My desire is to touch lives every day. Everyday, I believe that I am getting better. Everyday, I get nearer to achieving my dreams.

Mentor

God first, then, my parents. There are also people, that I admire their lifestyle and work. People like Prof. A.O Anya, an economist, Prof Obiora Udechukwu and Dr. Dike Aniako. For them to admire my work means a lot to me. These are people who appreciate hard work and donít believe in wasteful spending.


God first, then, my parents. There are also people, that I admire their lifestyle and work. People like Prof. A.O Anya, an economist, Prof Obiora Udechukwu and Dr. Dike Aniako. For them to admire my work means a lot to me. These are people who appreciate hard work and donít believe in wasteful spending.

Fulfilment

There are still many rivers to cross, and lots of hurdles to jump. My whole being still hunger for more conquests. I believe Iím on the right path, and with hard work, resilience and determination, I will get there.


There are still many rivers to cross, and lots of hurdles to jump. My whole being still hunger for more conquests. I believe Iím on the right path, and with hard work, resilience and determination, I will get there.

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