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Nduka’s Wedding Day by Osinachi.

The Nigerian visual artist and writer Osinachi is set for his debut solo show. Themed “Osinachi: Existence as Protest,” it aims to provoke critical thinking while challenging preconceived norms. In his usual distinct style, Osinachi uses colorful art to offer an alternative interpretation to literature, politics, and ordinary living. The show will be held at the Kate Vasse Galerie in Zurich, Switzerland, in March 2020, and will feature limited edition prints and NFTs.

Osinachi, who is noted as Africa’s foremost cryptoartist, is especially remarkable for his use of Microsoft Word—rather than art applications—to create art. Some of his pieces appear in the Art Naija Series anthologies—Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016) and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017)—as well as in 14’s anthologies—We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018)—the last of which had its cover designed by him. We previously covered his work, when he was still making the switch from literature to visual art. He is an editor at 14 and at 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. He is the first Nigerian to showcase artworks at the Ethereal Summit, a conference in New York that seeks to bridge the gap between technology and art through blockchain.

Osinachi.

The foreword for the show is written by Jason Bailey, tech marketing consultant and founder of Artnome, the world’s largest analytical database of known works by important artists, who had earlier profiled Osinachi’s work in his 2020 Art Market Predictions.

Read an excerpt from the foreword below.

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Osinachi’s work would be remarkable and worthy of great attention if it were made in Zurich or where I live in Boston, but the fact that it emerged against the odds he faced in Nigeria makes it that much more impressive.

Osinachi took Microsoft Word, a word processing tool with 1.2 billion users globally, and found a new way to use it as a tool for making digital art that none of us have seen before. Through sheer effort, imagination, and creativity, Osinachi brings virtuosity to what most people overlooked or cast aside as a crude tool for making basic shapes and patterns. Osinachi’s textures and color palettes sing out and demand attention. Inspired by the textiles found in Nigeria, they feel more like a rich collage of vibrant fabrics than a screen full of cold lifeless pixels. The fearless creative energy and positivity of Osinachi’s aesthetic extend seamlessly into the subject matter of his work.

Osinachi is a brilliant protest artist. Rather than depict dramatic scenes of struggle and conflict as is often typical with protest art, his weapon of choice is to highlight normalcy and positivity.

His government has some of the most vicious anti-LGTBQ laws in the world, yet he chooses to celebrate this community in the face of these laws by showing its members happily living their lives as everyday human beings. By avoiding negativity and drama and simply presenting positive images of people just trying to live their lives, Osinachi completely defangs anti-LGBTQ propaganda. Rather than pour gas on a fire, he extinguishes it all together.

Like all great artists, Osinachi is a mirror of his times, and the topics he addresses — from environmentalism to racism and single parenthood — resonate far outside the borders of Nigeria. He is a reminder of what art and artists can be for us all when they are performing at their best and fulfilling their most important function within our increasingly global culture.

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Read the full foreword here.

Find Osinachi’s visual art on his Instagram: @__osinachi.

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Chukwuebuka Ibeh is a Staff Writer at Brittle Paper. An alumnus of the Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop, his work has been published in McSweeneys, Clarion Review, Charles River Journal and elsewhere. He was longlisted for the Awele Creative Trust Award in 2017 and was a finalist for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award. In 2019, he was named by Electric Literature as 'One of the Most Promising New Voices of Nigerian Fiction' in a feature introduced by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. He is a regular contributor with the New England Review of Books and lives in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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