We have the power to raise our expectations, and destroy the self-fulfilling prophecies that seek the disempowering of the sum of us. We will not satisfy or gratify that which hinders us. We have an enthusiasm and an apathy that are both infectious and repugnant. We are complex creatures that react on all levels of consciousness. We are pure finesse. Understand that I seek and see what I hear. What I paint, what I write; these thoughts though random, could express my fear. For this, I have no cause to cheer.
Chinwe Uwatse is a painter. She works full-time as the general manager of Bang and Olufsen, Nigeria Limited. Despite her heavy administrative schedule, extensive social commitments and diverse professional obligations, she has worked very hard to maintain her profile as an artist. Living in Nigeria, Chinwe Uwatse's central objective is to assist in the preservation of the female ethos in uli design forms. To this end, she has worked with a number of artists to transfer the decorative ethos of these ancient forms and motifs into contemporary styles and usages. By this means, they have kept decorative element of uli very much in national focus. Chinwe Uwatse studied Fine Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in painting. It was in Nsukka that she came in contact with such masters as Obiora Udechukwu, Chike Aniakor, Late Chike Amaefuna and El Anatsui, who were her lectures and have greatly influenced her. Upon graduating from Nsukka, Uwatse worked from 1982 to 1994 with the National Council of Arts and Culture as a visual arts officer, before going into self employment. She works mainly in oil on canvas, acrylic on board and water colour.
In The Best is Yet to Come, Chinwe Uwatse offers samples of the range of works she has created in the past ten years. Since 1982, she has had five solo exhibitions and has been featured in numerous group exhibitions. Primarily a painter, Uwatse moves confidently between painting in acrylic and painting in watercolor. In the process, she has produced two very distinct painterly styles that have received critical review from her collectors. Her style is dictated by the technical qualities of her medium as well as by the formal elements of uli design. On the one hand, her acrylic paintings are bold colorful statements whose compositional style rests on a skilful blending of brushstrokes, uli logic of design, and sharp engaging colors. On the other hand, her watercolor paintings display a haunting luminosity and translucency. Uwatse's watercolors have been described as "demonstrating a lyrical and exquisitely ephemeral quality that hints at unseen energy fields and forces that influence the everyday realities of the material world, and are themselves modified by the thoughts and actions of this realm" (Maurice Bryant, Earthy Treasures Gallery, Ottawa, 1992).
What I Have to Say
By Chinwe Uwatse
We are complex creatures that interact on various levels of consciousness. We are prone to overt and subliminal suggestion, which influence our daily existence. We are contemporary women. Joy and the pain, the laughter and gain are all palpable aspects of our lives that we cannot repudiate.
The ‘average woman’ is an anomaly; we are ‘super-women’. We have charm and intellect, but at the same time a certain fragility that can divert our resolve. We be, fixed between worlds; neither old nor new on the contrary we can articulate both. We are the auspicious women!
Why would we pattern ourselves thus? Are we creating common illusions, sometimes chasing impossible dreams? That which we must…
We have the power to raise our expectations, and destroy the self-fulfilling prophecies that seek the disempowering of the sum of us. We will not satisfy or gratify that which hinders us.
We have an enthusiasm and an apathy that are both infectious and repugnant. We are complex creatures that react on all levels of consciousness. We are pure finesse.
Understand that I seek and see what I hear. What I paint, what I write; these thoughts though random, could express my fear. For this, I have no cause to cheer.
Be this as it may, would I stop thus, for all I can say, is leave be, for another day.
Trust is an ephemeral thing;
Pride can be a foolish thing;
Acrimony seems to be a common thing;
Deceit is a very selfish thing.
I am old I am new I am neither borrowed nor blue. I am not young and this is true, I am our culture and our identity who are you?
This is an enunciation of my painting, as an abstract presentation of my inspiration.
29th May, 2007
Who I Am
I am Chinwe Cynthia Uwatse, born Chinwe Cynthia Ntephe on January 31, 1960 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Nigeria.
In 2001, I enrolled in Enugu State University of Technology (E.S.U.T.) Business School for a post-graduate degree. I graduated with a Master of Science in Human Resource Management in 2003. This was a major act of management.
My art education was at University of Ngieria, Nsukka in Enugu State from 1977 to 1982. I majored in painting and graduated with honours. I was the only woman in my class. A contemporary woman.
My work experience began with the National Council for Arts and Culture, right from my National Service year after graduation. From September 1982, I was a Federal Civil Servant, an ‘Art Administrator’. I retired voluntarily from the Civil Service in April 1994.
From 1994 to date, I have been with Bang and Olufsen Nigeria Limited.
My solo exhibition have been rare, not because I have not expressed myself, but just because I have waited for the next best, most colorful, most meaningful works that I have, to show. It has not really been ‘most’ enough. ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ is a web based solo exhibition, which can still be viewed on www.africaresource.com.
I have participated in several group exhibitions, the most recent being ‘Identities and Labels’ at the Pan African University Lagos from September 24 to October 8, 2005; an exhibition by eight contemporary Nigerian women that are artists.
I write a little, prose and poetry. I have had several of my essays on contemporary Nigerian Art as well as the place of Traditional Art in Modern Nigeria, published in the Guardian Newspapers.