The practice of painting uli on bodies and walls largely ended around 1970, yet by that time some contemporary Igbo artists had become attracted to its appealing designs and approach to compositional style. Although traditional uli is infrequently created today, it has been vigorously revived by Nsukka artists, especially those involved with the art program of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. This use of forms from the past was initiated by a number of artists, in particular Uche Okeke and Chike Aniakor, both of whom are represented here. Although Uche Okeke has retired from teaching, the university art program continues to develop under Obiora Udechukwu and others.

Desiring to create images of traditional Igbo life and of current Nigerian experience in what Uche Okeke calls "natural synthesis," artists have adopted European media, such as pen, brush, and ink, pastel, watercolor, tempera, gouache, and oil and acrylic paints, as well as methods of printing, including silkscreen, aquatint, etching, and lithograph. El Anatsui uses modern carving tools to create his sculptures out of Nigerian woods. Each artist utilizes uli in a personal way.

In the past uli artists were female; today most of the Nsukka artists who employ uli are male. Their work nevertheless shares many qualities with traditional uli: it is often two-dimensional, asymmetrical, and plays negative and positive spaces against each other. The new artists select and modify traditional uli designs, sometimes emphasizing stylistic features rather than specific motifs. Well known in Nigeria and increasingly acknowledged abroad, the Nsukka artists are emerging as a major group of contemporary African artists who link the skilled artistry of the past with the present and participate actively in the international art scene.

Olu Oguibe, Obiora Udechukwu, and Ada Udechukwu are widely recognized for their poetry. Viewing poetry as a complement to the visual expression of ideas and feelings, they sometimes illustrate their poems with drawings. Several of the artists are art critics and commentators, and all seven have earned university degrees. Together they form an intelligent, highly literate, and vital group.

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