"This 'listening to self' is, for me, the essence of my art. It is this that gives rise to and sustains my art, be it literary or visual."

photograph by Simon Ottenberg

Ada Udechukwu

Ada Udechukwu is one of the few female artists associated with the Nsukka group. She was born in 1960 to an Igbo father and an American mother in the city of Enugu in Igbo country. Udechukwu grew up in Nigeria, except during the Biafran War, when she and her family resided in the United States for several years. Not formally trained in the visual arts, she majored in English and literature at the University of Nigeria and obtained her bachelor's degree in 1981. A few years later she began to paint on fabric, using a restrained linear style to draw designs on dresses, shirts, trousers, scarves, and other garments. As she did in her university days, Udechukwu continues to express herself through poetry, drawing, and painting.

In 1988 the artist returned to creating images on paper, utilizing ink and watercolor to produce a small number of elegant works with beautifully yet simply crafted linear qualities. While her designs on cloth are joyful and positive, her work on paper reflects her personal moods and her sense of conflict in balancing her roles as wife and mother of two children and her professional commitment as a creative artist and a poet. She is also extremely aware of her allegiance both to Nigeria and Igbo culture and her sense of identity with America.

Udechukwu considers herself primarily a poet and continues to write. Her book of poetry, Woman, me, which expresses many of the same personal qualities as her works on paper, has been well received by critics.

Back to: NMAfA past exhibits