Uzo Egonu

  • Born 1931 in Onitsha, Nigeria
  • Died 1996 in London, UK
Uzo Egonu studied painting and won first prize in a school art competition before he migrated to England at the age of thirteen. There he studied painting and typography under L. J. Daniels and Gilbert Spencer at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London (1949–52). He then traveled to study the European masters and classical African art. In 1953 he settled in Paris, eventually visiting Denmark, Finland, and Italy. Upon returning to England, Egonu set up a studio in London, and during the 1960s he developed his unique synthesis of modern art (especially Cubism and Pop art) and African visual languages (Nigerian ornamentation, circular composition, and bird's-eye views), blurring the lines between figuration and abstraction. Although Egonu briefly visited his homeland only once, his compositions in painting, collage, and printmaking reveal a lasting bond with African issues, especially the 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom and the Nigerian Civil War. In 1964 Egonu had a solo show at the Woodstock Gallery, London, and he also gained attention in Nigeria for his art. His work has been exhibited in Europe and Africa and he was honored with several medals and prizes. In 1989 his work was included in the landmark exhibition The Other Story at Hayward Gallery, London.

Artworks by Uzo Egonu in the exhibition