Although a notable scholar of African ceramics art history, Onuzulike has remained committed to his studio, producing a large body of work in utilitarian ceramics and in mixed media sculptures and installations. His works have been shown in numerous group exhibitions and in nine solo shows between 1995 and 2018 in Nigeria, Italy and the USA.
“Seed Yams of Our Land”, the artist’s solo, which opened September 14, 2019, ended last weekend at CCA, Lagos. It attracted art denizens from all over the country to the venue.
Onuzulike has followed on the artist-poet tradition established at the Nsukka Art Department by Uche Okeke, Chike Aniakor, Obiora Udechukwu, Olu Oguibe and others, often drawing concrete images for his poetry from his own studio forms and work processes.
His first published poetry collection, Snails of Umbertide and other Poems (Umbertide, Italy: Civitella Ranieri Centre), resulted from his first major artist residency in 2003. His current volume, Seed Yams of Our Land (Lagos: Centre for Contemporary Art) was first written in 1998 during his national service under the Nigerian National Youth Service Corps.
Reinforced with images of works drawn from his studio project based on terracotta yams, the poems playfully but powerfully critique the precarious, yet hopeful, conditions in which Nigeria’s young people (her metaphorical seed yams) are perennially grown.
Ozioma Onuzulike, ceramics artist, poet and art historian, was born 1972 in Achi, Enugu State, Nigeria. He holds BA (First Class Honours, 1996), MFA (2001) and Ph.D. (2007) from the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he has taught Ceramics, Art History and Art Criticism since 2003, rising to the rank of Professor in 2014.