The Future Awards Africa Prize for Creativity
Kingsley Ayogu (23)
Hyperrealism is all the rage in Nigerian art, inspired by a departure from abstraction and a desire to present the world in its truest form. Many prodigies have been at the forefront of this movement, challenging the status quo with their dedication to craft and their singular focus. Ayogu Kingsley is one of these prodigies and a leading artist in the wave of hyperrealism adorning our galleries and private collector archives.
Ayogu prides himself in coming as close to realism as possible, fooling many a patron into believing his work is merely photography. Ayogu has chosen to focus this era of his art on advocating for mental health and has created works that express this desire.
His work is in such demand he has was invited in August 2017 to present a debut solo exhibition on mental health; including 22 paintings at the Thought Pyramid Art Centre in Abuja, Nigeria. The exhibition and his interactive session gave birth to the Solemnity series; a project that highlights how policies have hindered Nigeria’s progress. One of his paintings, titled Valley, exhibited during the mental health exhibition, and it was also the winning piece of the Vin Martin Ilo Award at LIMCAF 2017.
Ken Nwadiogbu (24)
As part of the overwhelming majority of self-taught visual artists working in Nigeria today, Ken Nwadiogbu had to find a way to distinguish his work. He does this through a combination of hyperrealistic pencil art and a specific design quirk of creating trompe l’oeil illusions that depict his subjects either breaking through or peering from behind paper of canvas. He uses his paintings to investigate social consciousness and pontificate on the state of the country.
He co-founded Artists Connect NG, the largest Nigerian artist gathering that took place at Lekki Leisure Lake, in Lagos, Nigeria. Nwadiogbu has been featured in lots of local and international group exhibitions and fairs, including the Insanity exhibition, sponsored by Frot Foundation, in Omenka Gallery, Nigeria; the TMC’s It’s Not Furniture, curated by Winifred Okpapi; the Artyrama’s group exhibition curated by Mr Jess Castellote; Art X Lagos, sponsored by Artyrama Gallery, in Lagos, Nigeria; the Moniker Art Fair, sponsored by Creative Debuts, in Brooklyn, NYC; the Anti-Trump show organised in UK; the Afriuture Exhibition by Ramati Art Africa in association with Commonwealth Africa Summit, in Toronto, Canada; amongst many others. He has been televised and publicized on different platforms like Guardian Life, Tush Magazine, WIRED Magazine, Candid Magazine, Bored Panda, BBC, CNN, and more as well as inspiring and encouraging young creatives through public speaking appearances like TEDx.
Haneefah Adam (27) [email protected]
There are many things that distinguish Haneefah Adam from any other female or male artist working today. She is self-taught, having learnt her very first creative skill through videos on Youtube. She is also unhindered by medium, working with food, metal, twine, traditional canvas, paper and even photography. Her work is heavily inspired by her hometown of Ilorin and its expansive culture, her faith as a Muslim woman in a contemporary world and the challenges she faces trying to make a name for herself in art.
In 2018 Adam created specially commissioned pieces for the multidisciplinary space founded and curated by renowned artist Victor Ehikhamenor, and participated in the Sterling Bank Café One artist series. She has created commissioned art for some of the biggest companies in the country including Nestle Nigeria, Union Bank, Coldstone Creamery to name a few. She also runs the Hijarbie Instagram account, a social experiment that attempts to recast the beloved Barbie Doll as contemporary Muslimah woman in love with fashion and eager to experiment. She has been featured on international platforms for her work and is a source of inspiration to women everywhere.
Ayobola Kekere-Ekun (25)
Ayobola Kekere Ekun is a visual artist with a genre that is all her own. She is a Lagos based contemporary visual artist, whose work predominantly explores issues related to mythology, gender, constructs of power and the human condition.
She is most known for her exceptional quilling work – an art form that involves the use of strips of coloured paper that are rolled, shaped and glued together to create stunning designs. Not one to explore traditional art, Kekere-Ekun’s work has expanded the boundaries of paper art and her striking portraits cut through an artist ennui and imbue the viewer with a sense of wonder.
Kekere-Ekun participated in the “Her Story” Group exhibition at Rele Gallery, Lagos. The exhibition was in honour of International Women’s month, and an exploration of gender inequality in our society. Ayobola also participated in an exhibition in honour of Professor Bolanle Awe. It was held at the Museum of the Institute of Africa Studies, University of Ibadan, Ibadan. She was part of the “Idanimo” art exhibition at Terrakulture Gallery, Lagos. and was awarded a scholarship by the SARChI Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture to pursue a PhD in Art and Design at the University of Johannesburg.
In October 2017, she was shortlisted in the Union Bank Centenary Art Challenge and has participated in the Artyrama Launch Exhibition in Lagos.
In July 2018, she was awarded a grant from the Dean Collection, founded by Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Alicia Keys to support her first solo exhibition to be held in 2019 and in October 2018, she participated in the “Cu-ulture and Tradition: Same Experience, Different Local” exhibition at the Koppel Project Hive, London. November 2018 her work was exhibited at the ArtX Art Fair in Lagos and was invited to present her art at the “Mistress Pieces” Conference in Johannesburg.
Uche Ugo (31)
In the world of visual art, it is easy to ignore artists who chose to focus entirely on commercial art. There is a sense of elitism that alienates these artists and tries to downplay their bodies of work. But The Future Awards Africa understands that visual artists working in commercial spaces often are able to transcend the small and elitist art spaces and find mainstream audiences. This is the kind of work that graphics and visual artist Uche Ugo has committed to and excelled in.
He is an experienced technology and digital entrepreneur who has made a name for himself in advertising and content creation circles, and he is personally responsible for the visual image and digital design of many brands. He has worked with Seamans Schnapps, Bournvita, Gala, INdomie, the Business School of Netherlands, Village Kitchen, Access Bank and many more, using his signature of minimalism and timeless design to create visual connections between commercial brands and their audiences.
Ugo’s impact is incalculable and his reach proves that art can transcend its function and exist purely on merit and aesthetic beauty.