Ibim COOKEY

My artworks for the past five years have been used to reveal different aspects a of black history, promote black power and project Africans as persons who had and will certainly have a great impact on contemporary culture today. Considering the various findings in our generation, I believe that black history has more relevance as well as competence than it is given because I find myself continually retracing my steps to the part of black history that has been hidden or misinterpreted to belittle black culture in form of records like the historical materials or perhaps in the society we find ourselves today. Through the diverse ways of creating art and projection of my works through exhibitions, I believe these views concerning the African culture can be corrected. The context of my work is basically to show the impact of art by pointing out the relationship between black people and their culture; this in turn extends to the society which is given the chance to find themselves.

My works differ from time to time; I create mostly portrait drawings embellished with contemporary African motif symbols or Ankara material patterns. My works are usually exhibited in galleries and art shows and so I make use of the opportunity by capturing the power and rituals needed for the sole purpose of invoking feelings and struggles of the black race; their successes as well as the experiences they tend to face in the present society. I believe I give a voice to most of them who have been wrongly misinterpreted, unheard in one way or the other or have been limited in one form or the other from speaking up for themselves which in turn forces them to go into hiding, perhaps in their self-induced bubbles of worthiness and insignificance because of where society has placed them through stereotyping. This feeling of worthiness should be corrected due to the advancement of a revelation of their power through their language and culture. History has made this possible. My works take various forms that I intend to use to entice the viewer; to make them understand as witnesses to the experiences faced by many in the past and current society as a whole. I want to create a new and unpredictable cycle or lines of thoughts and associations providing the chance to challenge the handicap perceptions of who Black people are and what we represent in the society. My current project for the Paris exhibition which I would love to call exploring identities is a multimedia kind of art. A work is created with charcoal and acrylic colour pens (for the background) and each of these projects takes about 250 hours to produce. They are equally meticulously drawn because I want the viewer to look at the portrait and not only appreciate the elegance of its darkness but also be able to transcend the monochromic nature of the drawing to the colourful background, thereby representing blacks not just in the stale black and white colours (which is synonymous to dullness) but colours representing vibrancy as to our resonate culture and heritage which has been evident throughout history from the pre-colonial period till now. Even during the colonial period—people have tried to project their culture through artefacts which have also served as a means of preserving their history. My art remains a strong way of showing how we share our thoughts as black people and how we were able to survive through the pre-colonial and post-colonial times. Over time there has been a lot of wars that have occurred within the African society and it has served as an unpredicted source of inspiration with the possibilities of changing a person's thoughts and opening them to new ideas of which they're also bound to embrace these ideas that are not common to our educational system because most of the history and perceptions are not taught. I have no wild illusions that the art will create a revolution in the traditional sense but I've witnessed powerful changes that art can instigate in an individual by emphatic fixation technique of making others feel the experiences of other persons.

The world may not change instantly through my art but I feel it will create a sense of awareness in the mind of the viewer and make them understand where I and my people come from and where we are heading to, our contributions to the society and how well we try to synchronize with the people in this current dispensation. I don't intend to repeat this but the use of my materials for my works are well calculated and I often source for new opportunities to explore and provoke the viewer to examine the chaotic placement of colours in the portrait and equally wonder what is going through the eyes of the African and this is the major reason why I pay close attention to the eyes of my models. This is what I intend to prove.

As an artist I want the viewer to look at it and experience something they've never experienced before.
Trailblazing art!

Ibim  COOKEY