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Victor Ekpuk is the New Artist In Residence At Efie Gallery

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Efie Gallery in Dubai just announced its partnership with Victor Epuk as the upcoming artist-in-residence in collaboration with New York University Abu Dhabi in Dubai. The residence is part of the first edition of Dubai’s Calligraphy Biennale, which will take place on 1st October 2023. Victor will further present his first exhibition in the Middle East with Efie Gallery on 28th September 2023.

Victor Ekpuk at the Africa Centre, Harlem New York. Image Courtesy of Instagram.

Efie is the ‘Twi ‘ word for home in the Akan language. True to its testament, Efie Gallery aims to collaborate with African artists with different cultural and identity notions. The founders, Valentina, Kwame, and Kobi Mintah, are dedicated to fostering productive dialogues between the two communities in the Middle East.

Since its inception in 2021, Efie Gallery’s dedication to supporting cross-cultural exchange between Africa and the Middle East and beyond has been one to admire. They have built a reputation by working with Africa’s top artists, such as El Anatsui, Aïda Muluneh, and many more. Efie Gallery operates in a dynamic residency program model, facilitating collaborations with local artists and the community. The residency featuring Victor Ekpuk is part of their plan to support the artist’s narrative and vision. In addition, the residency will improve the visibility and awareness of Black and African artists in the Middle East.

Victor Ekpuk’s work mesmerizes viewers as many symbols dance before their eyes, encompassing several walls. These dozens of forms resemble a cross-between calligraphy and an undeciphered script, revealing a long-lost text. He further employs undulating waves in vibrant colours representing the reimagined ancient Nigerian communication system, Nsibidi. He transforms Nsibidi into his unique language of abstraction, paying homage to his Nigerian roots. His work explores Nigeria’s traditional graphics and writing systems, combining history and contemporary expression. His style mesmerizes the audience with the essence of cultural symbolism and creativity, captivated by Ekpuk’s remarkable talent and vision.

Scape Goat, 2007. Acrylic and inkjet on rag paper. 137.2 × 109.2 cm. Image courtesy of Artsy.

Victor Ekpuk further reimagines the Indigenous system, creating an expressive, abstract script. His dedication to addressing historical narratives and contemporary African diaspora themes has made his work influential today. Moreover, his style draws influences from his early work as a newspaper illustrator. He condenses long passages into succinct, legible images.

The residency at Efie Gallery, in partnership with the New York University Abu Dhabi, is an opportunity to showcase his prowess as an artist. It also allows different cultures to learn more about traditional Nigerian communication systems. Additionally, the exhibition will allow different audiences to form their interpretations of the same and foster productive conversations about modern communication systems. Be sure to check out Efie Gallery to see the progress of the residency and explore Victor Ekpuk’s works in depth.


Rose Mwikali Musyoki is a creative writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business and Finance from the University of Embu, Kenya, and is the founder of Bloom Inc, an art startup in Kenya. Currently, she works as a writer for Art News Africa.

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