In this pioneering work Olu Oguibe charts the life and career of Uzo Egonu, from his origins in Africa to his expatiation in Britain. Egonu, a remarkable, compassionate and very private artist, has been described as “perhaps Africa's greatest modern painter,” one whose work challenges the impoverished Western myth of the naive African artist. The complexity of Egonu's work is firmly located within the tradition of modernism. What we see is a judicious synthesis of visual languages developed from his critical encounter with Western art and an informed awareness of his African heritage; a synthesis which reaches beyond mere formalist concerns to involve both the experience of his life in the West and the painful turmoils of his country of origin, post-colonial Nigeria. This monograph is a timely intervention in the prevailing debates on the role, position and aesthetic concerns of the African artist in the contemporary world, and offers a unique contribution to the scarce literature on artists of African, Asian or Latin American origin living in the West.
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