Victor Ehighale Ehihkamenor is a prolific award-winning Nigerian visual artist, writer, and photographer, once described as "undeniably one of Africa’s most innovative contemporary artists" and one of "42 African Innovators to Watch".
Education, work, and influence
Ehikhamenor was born in Udomi-Uwessan, Edo State, Nigeria. He was educated in Nigeria and in the United States. He returned from the United States in 2008 to work in Lagos. His work is strongly influenced by work done by villagers especially his grandmother who was a cloth weaver. His uncle was alsoa photographer, his maternal grandfather a blacksmith, and his mother, a local artist. He is also inspired by wall paintings and installation arts, mostly in community shrines. This has been an enduring feature of his work, which is abstract, symbolic and politically motivated; and influenced by the duality of African traditional religion and the interception of Western beliefs, memories and nostalgia.
Ehikhamenor's art and photographs have been used for editorials as well as cover art on books by authors such as Chimamanda Adichie, Helon Habila and Chika Unigwe. They have also been illustrated on fabric and exhibited at international fashion parades.
He has held numerous solo art exhibitions across the world. In 2016, he was one of 11 Nigerian artists invited to join twenty three Indonesian artists in the grand exhibition at the Biennale. At the Jogja National Museum, he showed an installation titled "The Wealth of Nations."
Ehikhamenor has published numerous fiction and critical essays with academic journals, mainstream magazines and newspapers from around the world including The New York Times, CNN Online, Washington Post, Farafina, AGNI Magazine and Wasafiri. His short story, "The Supreme Command", won the Association of Commonwealth Broadcasters Award in 2003. His debut poetry collection, Sordid Rituals, was published in 2002.
His second book, Excuse Me! (2012), a satirical creative non-fiction view of life as an African both at home and abroad, is a recommended text in two Nigerian universities.
Selected book cover designs
- 2003: Feeding Frenzy by Jonathan Luckett
- 2004: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie
- 2005: Sky High Flame by Unoma Azuah
- 2005: English In Africa Journal of the English Department, Rhodes University, South Africa
- 2007: Measuring Times by Helon Habila
- 2008: Jambula Tree and Other Stories Anthology of Caine Prize winners and shortlisted writer by Cassava Republic, Abuja Nigeria
- 2008: One World Anthology of short stories by New Internationlist Publishers, UK
- 2008: Of Friends, Money and Greed Anthology of three stories and a play by Hodders Publishers, UK
- 2009: Songs of Absence and Despair, collection of poems by Toni Kan
- 2009: Salutes without Guns, collection of poems by Ikeogu Oke
- 2010: Christopher Okigbo: Thirsting for Sunlight by Obi Nwakanma
- 2013: Oil on Water by Helon Habila
- 2014: frica in Fragments: Essays on Nigeria, Africa and Africanity by Moses Ochonu
- 2014: Half of a Yellow Sun (Movie Edition) by Chimamanda Adichie
- 2014: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- 2015: Story Collection for Caine Prize for African Writing, 2015
Awards and residencies
- 1999: Finalist for "Palace Dwellers" The Artist’s Magazine Art Competition
- 2000: 1st Place, Arts Club of Washington Juried Exhibition. Juror, Dr. Kimberly A. Jones, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
- 2003: Highly Commended Award for “The Supreme Command”, Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, London
- 2006: Familiar Streets Writing Contest Award for “A Beautiful Freedom” by Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival, Washington, DC.
- 2008: Leon Forrest Africana Scholar Award
- 2014: Norman Mailer Fellowship for Writing
- 2015: Casa Zia Lina, Elba, Italy
- 2016: Greatmore Residency, Cape Town, South Africa
- 2016: Nirox Foundation Residency, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2016: Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Africa in Residency programme
- "Announcing Bellagio Center Residency Award Winners", Africa Center. 11 May 2016.
Selected solo exhibitions
- 2000: “Beyond The Surface” Utopia Art/Grill, Washington, D.C.
- 2000: “Spirits In Dialogue” The Brazilian-American Cultural Institute Gallery, Washington, D.C.
- 2001: “Discovering the gods” Monroe Gallery, Arts Club of Washington, Washington, D.C.
- 2004: “Songs and Stories: Moonlight Delight” Utopia Gallery, Washington, D.C.
- 2005: “Talking Walls” BB&T Bank, NW Washington, D.C.
- 2005: “Divine Intervention” Howard University A J Blackburn Center Gallery, Washington, D.C.
- 2005: “Body Language” Utopia Art/Grill, Washington, D.C.
- 2006: “Beyond The River” Grenada Embassy, Washington, D.C.
- 2007: “Labyrinth of Memories” Didi Museum, Lagos, Nigeria.
- 2007: “Rocks & Roses” Victoria Crown Plaza, Lagos, Nigeria.
- 2008: “Invasion of Privacy” Jennings Gallery, Washington, D.C
- 2009: “Mirrors and Mirages” Terra Kulture Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
- 2010: “Roforofo Fight: Painting to Fela’s Music” Bloom Gallery, Lagos Nigeria
- 2011: “Artist Experience” Whitespace, Ikoyi Lagos
- 2011: “Entrances & Exits: In search of not forgetting, CCA, Lagos Nigeria
- 2012: "Crossing the Line" Bloom Gallery, Lagos
- 2013: “Amusing The Muse” Temple Muse, Lagos
- 2014: “In The Lion’s Lair: Photographing Wole Soyinka” Ake Arts and Books Festival, Abeokuta, Nigeria
- 2014: “Chronicles Of The Enchanted World” Gallery of African Art, London
- 2015: “Paperwork: Works on paper” Constant Capital Gallery, Lagos
Selected group exhibitions
- 1999: National Geographic Society Staff Show, Washington D.C. ,USA
- 2001: “Same Tree, Different Roots” Howard University AJ Blackburn Center Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA
- 2001: Patuxent Art League Members Juried Show, Laurel, MD, USA
- 2002: Home of African Concepts Gallery, Kent, WA, USA
- 2003: “Symbols and Metaphors” Underwood Studio, Chevy Chase, MD, USA
- 2004: “Memories: 2Griot” Joy Smith Gallery, Memphis, TN, USA
- 2007: “Rhythms & Blues” Sarah Silberman Gallery, Montgomery College, MD, USA
- 2008: “Black Creativity” Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL, USA
- 2012: “Post colonial photo studio” Action Field Kodra, Thessaloniki, Greece
- 2013: “Nigeria Now” Ake Arts & Book Festival World Bank Exhibition, Nigeria
- 2014: “ARENA” Center of Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland
- 2015: Biennale Jogja XIII, Equator #3 2015, Indonesia
- 2015: “Displacement” Fiction and drawings in collaboration with Toby Zielony for German Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, Italy
- 2016: “A Place In Time” Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park in collaboration with Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2016: Dakart Biennale Curated by Simon Njami