Pigment International met our cover artist Rewa Udoji - @artbyrewa - at a Kimpton Hotel on Miami Beach while attending her first Art Miami/Art Basel. Her work was being shown at Art Miami by Jonathan Ferrara Gallery. The self-taught artist, with roots in London and Nigeria, describes herself as an Igbo Vernacular artist. She will tell you she has a clear vision of the work she's called to do, and because of that vision, she's purposefully eschewed the MFA path. It should not be surprising, as she has also liberated herself from the constructs of what a skin tone palette has typically been.
The characters in REWA universe are rendered in technicolor - fuschsias, acid greens, noble purples, and neon orangwa. Their faces are just as colorful as the outfits they wear.
The product of divergent and sometimes clashing cultures REWA grew up from age eight in London with her mother. In college she immersed herself in the sciences, studying physiology and pshychology and psychology planning for the preffered African career path of doctor or lawyer. Her choice to work as a management consultant afforded her a certain lifestyle, but she found the UK to be "dull and crushing." She levered a career opportunity that took her to Zimbabwem where she eventually shed corporate life to become a full-time artist after encouragement from her friends.
Now in her father's gome of Lagos, she can't specifically say where her style came from, but she is emphatic that she wants to paint Black people but doesn't want to be limited to specific skin tones. She loves color and her mosaic tile approach to skin colors, 'allowed her freedom of expression.' Even her IG account is color-blocked.
In 2017, A Nigerian gallery invited her to exhibit in a show for young contemporary artists. Soon she had consignment agreements with galleries in London and New orleans, where she had her first solor show. She's not ready to commit to an exclusive gallery arrangement just yet, although it was a topic of discussion in Miami. Her original works begin around $10k with larger canvasses reaching $22k. Editioned printscome in around $2,500.
REWA was waiting for her sister to join her in Miami and planned to stay for two weeks taking in the culture at places like the Perez Museum. Any trepidition the wife and mom may have gad avout ger first time in Miami wasn't apparent from her whirlwind of activities during Art Miami and her quote on IG, "Real artists, do real artists things."
Thanks for allowing Pigment International to feature your work on our cover.