Okeke, (Christopher) Uche(funa)
- Chika Okeke
(b Nimo, April 30, 1933).
Nigerian painter, sculptor, illustrator and poet. After attending Bishop Shanahan Secondary School, Orlu (1950–53), he received a degree in Fine Arts from the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria (1957–61). In 1958 he founded the Asele Institute in Kafanchan for research in Nigerian art and culture. In the 1960s he was a member of the Ibadan Mbari Club, and a few years later formed the Enugu branch of Mbari that became a centre for artists of the Eastern region. His interest in Nigerian visual culture, especially that of his own Ibgo people, was most evident in his attention to and use of uli patterns (see Africa §V 3.) in his works, such as Oja Suite (1962; Nimo, Asele Inst.). He employed these organic, gestural lines to depict Igbo folktales as well as to produce the later Munich Suite (1963) during his travels in Germany. He was a founding member of the Zaria Art Society, which sought to create a Nigerian artistic expression based on a synthesis of indigenous and foreign art traditions. In ...