Johnson Uwadinma (b. 1982, Nigeria) is a contemporary artist known for his paintings that feature tessellating hues and multiple textures. Uwadinma’s work is characterized by an interest in truth, morality, memory and the never-ending intrigue of human co-existence. Uwadinma’s work is defined by past and present experiences of the Nigerian State and Africa’s history.
Uwadinma studied art at the University of Port Harcourt graduating with a B.A and an M.A in 2005 and 2013 respectively. He received the First Prize of the NNPC/EPNL Sponsored World Environment Day Art Competition in 2005. Uwadinma has exhibited extensively in several group exhibitions in Nigeria and a recent solo, Aphorism, at Mydrim Gallery, Lagos in 2013. “Erasure” is show for Boys’ Quarters, is his second ever solo show. He lives and works in Port Harcourt.
Favorite colour?: Orange
Last movie you really enjoyed: Spartacus, great directing, action was perfect, cinematography perfect, everything.
What do you do for fun in PH? Work!
What’s the best thing about living in PH? It’s quiet. I think it’s not as busy as Lagos is. From the studio to the house is not that far. From the house to meet friends is not that far. Unlike when I’m in Lagos to see a gallery I have to travel so many kilometres. To see a friend I have to spend a whole day travelling and also being in traffic.
What’s the worst thing about living in PH? The situation with power. It’s everywhere in Nigeria though. So light… and perhaps the road to my studio! It’s terrible.
What music is inspiring you? I like very slow music when I work. Except when the ideas are just crazy and I’m hitting the mark I go for ragga, like Buju Banton or Rhymzo. But when I try to allow the ideas to sink in I go for soft, slow music. When things get too much, for example, when I’m working on a painting that requires a lot of focus, like when I do the white pointilism that I use a lot, I go for jazz like Bob James. When I’m angry with the situation in Nigeria I go for Fela. Tuface, too, is wonderful.
Favourite food: Anything edible. That’s one reason my wife likes me!
Describe the PH art scene in three adjectives: Virgin… Actually I think “virgin” kind of sums it up and that’s why I’m still here.
Plans for the future: After the Boys’ Quarters show I am looking at expanding this theme to have another solo show in 2015 in Lagos. Then afterwards? I have a problem with planning the future. I mean I didn’t know I’d be working with Zina and Boys’ Quarters! I like what nature ends up throwing at me.
If you were president of Nigeria what would your first order of business be? I would fix the power situation. Everybody suffers from this in Nigeria. And from a more selfish perspective I like to play music when I work but since March I have been without electricity in my studio. So I have to run my generator – which is noisy and expensive – just to get my work done.