Awka, the capital of Anambra State, takes pride of place as a pivotal home of art and culture, but art exhibitions are few and far between currently. It was therefore a pleasant surprise when one got the information in the evening of Saturday, July 17 that a young lady artist, Aboekwe Oluebube Cynthia, was undertaking an exhibition of paintings and metal sculptures at Annabel Hotel, Awka.
There was nary any publicity whatsoever of the exhibition. The resourceful managing director and editor-in-chief of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, publishers of National Light and Ka O Di Taa, Chuka Nnabuife, had taken me out for the evening to discuss other matters when I received a phone call from my brother, Isidore, in Onitsha informing me of the Awka art exhibition. For good measure, Isidore also informed me that the renowned art patron Chief Emeka “Nwachinemere” Ekemezie who was known to me as “Oil Minister” was in Awka for the exhibition.
Chuka Nnabuife who doubles as a respected artist in his own right insisted we must take off immediately to Annabel Hotel to see the exhibition.
When we met the precocious artist, Aboekwe Oluebube Cynthia, she informed us that it was a one-day exhibition which was ending that very day! I had planned to bring along the distinguished art patron and facilitator of the Awka Museum Project, Arthur Harris-Eze, but I could not because the exhibition was ending before it even began!
Chuka Nnabuife informed the artist that he would have offered the vast publicity dimensions available if he had been informed earlier of the exhibition.
The exhibition entitled “The African Cultural Experience” was indeed an eye-opener for it showcased a talent performing above her age. The metal sculptures were class acts while the paintings held meanings deeper than could be immediately appreciated. It was primed as a solo exhibition though some works from some professionals from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka was also on display.
According to Aboekwe Oluebube Cynthia, “I tried to express, not in words, but in art and craft the African Cultural Experience.”
The artist who describes herself as a “female contemporary African artist” is a native of Uruagu village in Umudioka, Dunukofia local government area, Anambra State.
She was educated at the famous Queen of the Rosary College (QRC), Onitsha. Incidentally she is not studying Fine Arts in Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Igbariam Campus, where she is a final year student of Philosophy.
The multi-talented artist said: “I competed in the Wole Soyinka Art, Poetry and Drama Competition in 2013 in Lagos and I emerged a winner and was gifted a cash prize. Also in the year 2014, I competed at the Nigeria art competition which took place at Igbo-Ukwu Museum, Anambra State, and emerged the winner and was gifted with a cash price along with a certificate.”
Her winning entry was published in the magazine which she cites as “my first publication.”
It was from the year 2018, Aboekwe Oluebube Cynthia stresses, that “I started commissioning artworks and portraits for my distinguished art lovers.”
Even as she is in the final year of her studies in Philosophy, she says, “I have had formal trainings from different art institutions across the country.”
She reveals of her future plans thusly: “I was granted an admission in Bachelors of Fine Art to study Drawing and Painting on April 6, 2021 in Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), Ontario, Toronto, Canada by September Fall.”
“Art has always been a form of expression to me,” she said. “It has been a way for me to express some things that words cannot. Capturing the moments, emotions and feelings into a masterpiece of Art has always been the first mission for me. My vision is to find community platforms, showcase my works and look at people’s expressions as they look at my works with deep thoughts running through their minds. I want to be able to be at the outside of their bodies and touch their souls within.”
She has the dream of “leaving a great legacy in art and becoming a legend and a famous artist is my greatest goal.”
She nurses the hope of “having a great Museum that attracts international art collectors in the heart of Anambra State, Awka, before the next five years” as my major plan.
“Being able to make my art open for all income levels so that no matter how little you are you’ll get to have a connection with my art,” is her desire. “Most important is being able to be a motivation and a role model to young talent is my dream.
In her words: “The Art industry to me is the soul of living widely used in all parts of our daily life, from Fabric, Glassware, Furniture, Jewelry, Paintings etc. The originality of an artist to the community is of great importance to mankind and should be accorded importance. Nigeria’s Art industry has contributed immensely through legends like Ben Enweonwu, Kolade Oshinowo, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Uche Okeke etc. Even so, I feel like the country isn’t appreciating art as it should be. The government needs to put more effort in the industry and encourage the young talented artist.”