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Nigerian painter Collins Obijaku explores Black identity through art

Collins Obijiaku (Photo provided)

Self-taught Nigerian artist Collins Obijakurefers to himself as a custodian of contemporary Black culture. He uses his art as a vehicle to explore the evolving consciousness and contexts of his own identity.

Using charcoal, he brings his subjects to life on the canvas with contoured lines and fingerprint-like designs.

In his latest series “Kings’ Collection; Queens Collection,” Collins explores and celebrates the depths of Black identities.

This year he has been featured in “Say it Loud: Virtual Exhibition,” at Christie’s, New York; and “BLACK VOICES/ BLACK MICROCOSM,” at CFHILL in Sweden, both curated by Destinee Ross-Sutton.

We spoke with Obijaku about his artistic development and creativity.

What was your introduction to art? 

Comic books, newspapers, and the internet.

What artists inspired you to follow your passion?

I am inspired by Kerry James Marshall, Rembrandt and Barkley L. Hendricks.

How would you describe your style of art?

As a portrait artist, I am more interested in the celebration and documentation of the people that live and connect with me. I like to capture the foundation of their environment using topographic lines.

Where do you get artistic inspiration from? 

My lifestyle and music inspire my art.

What do you want people to take away when they experience your art?

I hope to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people who see my art. I’d like them to take out the insecurity they feel about themselves sometimes.

As an African artist, do you feel a sense of responsibility for the evolution of Black art internationally?

I would love to keep developing my artistic expertise. I feel the need to increase the amount of Black art in museums all over the world.