Gerald Chukwuma Nigeria, b. 1973


Gerald Chukwuma (b. 1973) is one of Nigeria’s fastest rising contemporary artists noted for his intricately crafted wood-slate sculptures. Using a multitude of techniques, his unique approach to burning, chiseling, and painting common materials captures a richly layered history imbedded with personal and political meaning. The use of traditional Uli and Nsibidi symbols links his work to the Nsukka art tradition which expanded and modernised the Igbo cultural aesthetic. Meanwhile, the transformation of object into highly detailed artworks roots him firmly in the contemporary moment of rapid environmental and ecological change.

In his work spanning paintings, sculptures and collage, Chukwuma explores migration as a constant process of transformation and reinvention. Considering the implications of globalisation on his local community, Chukwuma transforms everyday materials to render new stories of Nigeria’s socio-political landscape. The artist his drawn to the movements of people through voluntary and forced migration as a vital stage in the progress of our collective humanity. This sense of optimism imbues his work with playfully illustrative characters drawn from a wide variety of visual forms present in Nigeria’s deep cultural history.

Typical of the artist’s detail driven approach, these works interweave a personal intimacy, the artist hand-crafts work, but they refer to global context of time, trade and travel. Some works appear as aerial views of road networks and urban landscapes, however upon closer inspection the surface appear to be collaged images constructed from sim-cards sourced from local communities. These are the very same communities that appear in the woodcarvings as symbols of urban societies galvanised by the realities of globalisation and coloured by internal and external conflicts.


Born 1973, Nigeria
Lives and work in Lagos, Nigeria


Standing Ovation, Gallery 1957, Accra

Art X Lagos Art Fair, Lagos
People's Paradise, Temple Muse, Lagos

Essentials, Alexis Galleries, Lagos
The Contemporaries, The Wheatbeaker, Lagos
Today in History, Thought Pyramid Art Gallery, Abudja

Soaking up Beauty, Constant Capital, Lagos

Highlife II, Ethnocentrique, Lagos

Music Lesson, Alexis Gallery, Lagos

Highlife I, Ethnocentrique, Accra

Heden Daagse Afrikaanse Kunst, Amsterdam
Pachakucha: Inspire Japan, Terra Kulture, Lagos

Reclaiming Africa, Geothe Institute, Lagos
In Pursuit of Knowledge, Civic Centre, Lagos
Africa Now, The World Bank, USA
Moderne Afikansu Kunst , Danish Center for Culture and Development, Denmark

Mouling Matter, Pan African University, Lagos
The Unbreakable Nigerian Spirit, Galarie 23, Amsterdam

With a Human Face, Pan African University, Lagos

Salt of the Earth, PACA Biennale, Enugu

Awakened Instincts, Nimbus Art Center, Lagos


The World Bank Collection, Washington D.C.
Seth Dei Foundation, Accra