MARC STRAUS

Gallery

A ceramics artist, renowned poet, and a leading figure in the contemporary ceramic art scene in Africa, Ozioma Onuzulike’s works directly address challenges that are not only historical and contemporary to Africa but also the world over with regard to colonialism, migration, and global warming.

In his Palm Kernel Shell Beads series, Onuzulike reflects on the historical use of beads as items of commercial exchange for slaves in Africa by European merchants. Onuzulike uses local clays to recreate palm kernel shells into beads and inlays them with recycled glass and ash glazes. He uses these new beads to weave textile structures that remind one, not of the slave trade era, but instead of Africa’s prestigious cloths like the Akwaete of the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria, the Kente of Ghana, and even the Aso-Oke of the Yoruba people of Southwestern Nigeria. Commemorated in ceramic, we are reminded of these textiles’ history in the West African weaving tradition and their political and cultural standing.

The production process of Onuzulike’s Yam series – pounding, kneading, cutting, firing, perforating, and at times, burning the yams – highlights the violence that we inflict on the earth. In this collection of work, suggestive textures, hollows, and recycled glasses enhance the visual perception of rotting, that is, the manner in which yams deteriorate or perish when they are not properly cared for on the farms and when grown in adverse climate conditions such as lack, or much, of rainfall and rising temperatures. In Chainmail, Onuzulike’s most recent series, earlier conceptual and technical elements intersect. The artist combines iron oxide with other colorants in the making of thousands of terracotta pieces, providing color and nuances of age. The formal structures seen in the Chainmail series tend to allude to how what were historically slave chains in the past have been transformed into graceful armors by true African nationalists.

Ozioma Onuzulike was born in 1972 in Achi, Enugu State, Nigeria, He graduated First Class from the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he is currently professor of ceramic art and African art history, and Director of the University’s Institute of African Studies. Among solo exhibitions, Seed Yams of Our Land was held at the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos, Nigeria, in 2019, along with a presentation of his poetry collection of the same title also published by the CCA. Moreover, his works were included in the exhibition held at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK, arising from the [Re:]Entanglements Research Project led by Professor Paul Basu. Onuzulike is a fellow of the Civitella Ranieri Centre, Umbertide, Perugia, Italy, where he completed a residency under the UNESCO-ASCHBERG Bursary for Artists. Additionally, he is a 2011 recipient of the African Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship Award of the America Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), and 2010 Leventis Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of London Centre of African Studies, SOAS; and an alumnus of the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine, USA. His work is in the collection of the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Lagos, Nigeria; Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK; Princeton University Museum, Princeton, New Jersey, USA; The Design Museum, Munich, Germany; Hudson Valley Museum of Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New York, USA; Donnersberg Collection, France, among others.

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Selected Works
Royal Mask for the Jagaban II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires (4,756 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
66.9 x 55.1 x 4.7 in (170 x 140 x 12 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Royal Mask for the Jagaban II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires (4,756 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
66.9 x 55.1 x 4.7 in (170 x 140 x 12 cm)

Beaded Regalia for Sanusi, 2023
Natural palm kernel shells, earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wire (6,726 natural and ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
83.4 x 59 x 3.5 in (212 x 150 x 9 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Beaded Regalia for Sanusi, 2023
Natural palm kernel shells, earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wire (6,726 natural and ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
83.4 x 59 x 3.5 in (212 x 150 x 9 cm)

Peacock Weave II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires (4,685 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
70.9 x 63 x 4 in (180 x 160 x 10 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Peacock Weave II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires (4,685 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
70.9 x 63 x 4 in (180 x 160 x 10 cm)

Thick-Madam Blouse with Earth Colours, 2023
earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires ( 4,881 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
70.1 x 64.2x 5.5 in (178 x 163 x 14 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Thick-Madam Blouse with Earth Colours, 2023
earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires ( 4,881 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
70.1 x 64.2x 5.5 in (178 x 163 x 14 cm)

Beaded Regalia for Sanusi II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires ( 4,914 ceramic and natural palm kernel shell beads)
64.2 x 52.4 x 4 in (163 x 133 x 10 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Beaded Regalia for Sanusi II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires ( 4,914 ceramic and natural palm kernel shell beads)
64.2 x 52.4 x 4 in (163 x 133 x 10 cm)

Ada's Three Piece Lace II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires ( 2,754 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
53.1 x 47.25 x 4 in (135 x 120 x 10 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Ada's Three Piece Lace II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires ( 2,754 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
53.1 x 47.25 x 4 in (135 x 120 x 10 cm)

Akwaete Woman's Weave II, 2023
earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires (2,800
ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
47.6 x 52.75 x 3.5 in (121 x 134 x 9 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Akwaete Woman's Weave II, 2023
earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires (2,800
ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
47.6 x 52.75 x 3.5 in (121 x 134 x 9 cm)

Patterned Lace for Wike, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires (6,537 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
88.6 x 74 x 4.7 in (225 x 188 x 12 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Patterned Lace for Wike, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wires (6,537 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
88.6 x 74 x 4.7 in (225 x 188 x 12 cm)

Zipped Armour for Obi II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, iron oxide engobes and copper wires
51.2 x 44.5 x 4 in (130 x 113 x 10 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Zipped Armour for Obi II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, iron oxide engobes and copper wires
51.2 x 44.5 x 4 in (130 x 113 x 10 cm)

Lagbaja's Extra-Large Danshiki, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses, iron oxide engobe and copper wire (15,892 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
126.75 x 120.75 x 4.75 in (322 x 307 x 12 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Lagbaja's Extra-Large Danshiki, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses, iron oxide engobe and copper wire (15,892 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
126.75 x 120.75 x 4.75 in (322 x 307 x 12 cm)

Ada's Three-Piece Lace, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wire (5,293 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
78.75 x 63 x 4.75 in (200 x 160 x 12 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Ada's Three-Piece Lace, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wire (5,293 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
78.75 x 63 x 4.75 in (200 x 160 x 12 cm)

Peacock Weave, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wire (4,262 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
70.75 x 59 x 3.5 in (180 x 150 x 9 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Peacock Weave, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wire (4,262 ceramic palm kernel shell beads)
70.75 x 59 x 3.5 in (180 x 150 x 9 cm)

Lagbaja's Extra-Large Danshiki, 2023, detail -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Lagbaja's Extra-Large Danshiki, 2023, detail

Harvest and Scorched Earth, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, iron oxide engobe, burnt wood and copper wire
48 x 86.22 x 5.12 in (122 x 219 x 13 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Harvest and Scorched Earth, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, iron oxide engobe, burnt wood and copper wire
48 x 86.22 x 5.12 in (122 x 219 x 13 cm)

Of Harvest and Mixed Feelings, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, iron oxide engobe, recycled glasses, burnt wood and copper wire
51.5 x 87 x 4.3 in (131 x 221 x 11 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Of Harvest and Mixed Feelings, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, iron oxide engobe, recycled glasses, burnt wood and copper wire
51.5 x 87 x 4.3 in (131 x 221 x 11 cm)

Zipped Armour for Obi, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, iron oxide engobe and copper wire
89 x 87 x 4.75 in (226 x 221 x 12 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Zipped Armour for Obi, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, iron oxide engobe and copper wire
89 x 87 x 4.75 in (226 x 221 x 12 cm)

Presidential Lace, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wire
59 x 70.75 x 3.25 in (150 x 180 x 8 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Presidential Lace, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wire
59 x 70.75 x 3.25 in (150 x 180 x 8 cm)

Royal Mat III, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wire
47.24 x 62.99 x 3.15 in (120 x 160 x 8 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Royal Mat III, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, ash glazes, recycled glasses and copper wire
47.24 x 62.99 x 3.15 in (120 x 160 x 8 cm)

Ageing Bee Hives, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, iron oxide, ash glazes, recycled glasses and burnt wood
51.2 x 76.4 x 1.5 in ( 130 x 194 x 4 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Ageing Bee Hives, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, iron oxide, ash glazes, recycled glasses and burnt wood
51.2 x 76.4 x 1.5 in ( 130 x 194 x 4 cm)

Honeycombs II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, iron oxide, ash glazes, recycled glasses and burnt wood
55.5 x 74.4 x 1.5 in (141 x 189 x 4 cm) -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ozioma Onuzulike

Honeycombs II, 2023
Earthenware and stoneware clays, iron oxide, ash glazes, recycled glasses and burnt wood
55.5 x 74.4 x 1.5 in (141 x 189 x 4 cm)

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