Nigerian Artist Amarachi Odimba Explores ‘Be/longing’ in First Memphis Exhibit

The internationally acclaimed artist will explore true love, community and belongingness through human figures and dripping paint

Acrylic and oil on cavas paiting titled “Emergence I” (2019) by Amarachi Odimba. Photo courtesy of Urevbu Contemporary.

Nigerian artist Amarachi Kelechi Odimba is opening her first solo U.S. exhibit with “Be/longing” at the Urevbu Contemporary gallery on South Main, Memphis. The exhibit will run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 31 and will be the first fall exhibit of the gallery. In this art show, the artist will explore the timeless issues of the common human experience: true love, community and belongingness. The artist’s usual mixed media installations works will be taking a step back as the exhibit will feature paintings filled with vibrant colors, bold outlines and free-flowing paint. These works will primarily use acrylics and oils to produce her striking canvas paintings.

Acrylic and oil on cavas paiting titled “Equals” (2021) by Amarachi Odimba. Photo courtesy of Urevbu Contemporary.

“My practice spans across paintings, drawings, public participatory art and installations to examine societal issues pertaining to gender, education, identity and migration,” the artist describes her work on her website. “The body and its narratives are the main core of my paintings, often portraying my figures in obscured nudes. I paint predominantly in acrylic and oil , combining colour drips and gestural brush strokes, with a spontaneous and expressive approach.”

While this will be her first U.S solo exhibit, Odimba has had work displayed internationally, including in South Africa and the United States. She investigates topics relating to culture, interpersonal relationships, emotions, education, and migration through her art. Additionally, personal experiences and metaphorical images mostly inspire Odimba’s works. Layers of thick, dripping paint that break down the boundaries of what is known and encourage reflection on the human body are common to all of her works. 

As a female artist, she feels that women are still underrepresented in art. “Without undermining the struggles of my male counterparts, there is still much under-representation of female artists, and this calls for more action in achieving a balance. Being a self-taught female artist initially felt like I was on the margins, pushing hard to gain visibility,” she told Daily Trust during the showing of “Shared Encounter,” a joint exhibition of which she was a part. “But, the good part is that I reckon the freedom of expression that art offers me. Focusing on the positives and putting in work douses the challenges that I face.”

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