Profile: Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze (1982-)

Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze is a Brooklyn-based Nigerian-British artist noted for drawings and works on paper which focus on cultural hybridity or “post-colonial non-nationalism.” In addition to being an artist, she has also worked as a teacher and curator.

Early life and education

Amanze was born in Nigeria in 1982. She was raised in the United Kingdom, living there for 13 years before coming to the United States in 2004 when she moved to Philadelphia. She received a B.F.A. summa cum laude from the Tyler School of Art at Philadelphia’s Temple University in 2004. She received her M.F.A from Cranbrook Academy of Art, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Amanze now resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Work

Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze’s graphite, ink and pigment drawings, often combined with photo transfers, are populated by hybrid creatures that exist in multi-geographic spaces,floating in the white space of their paper substrate. She is greatly influenced by Nigerian artists and the Nigerian history of drawing. Her mixed-media drawings center on the concept of displacement and cultural hybridity.

Drawing has become her primary medium, with Amanze describing it as “constantly reinventing itself”. Despite working with various mediums, her current pieces are all centered around drawing, a favorite medium since childhood. Only in college did she depart from drawing as her primary medium, instead majoring in the art of photography and textiles. Influenced by textile design, photography, print-making and architecture, her work conveys cultural displacement, anxiety, and identity, inspired by her “pieced-together memories” of Nigeria. These works explore a sense of displacement and existence between places, evoking feelings of homesickness and longing.

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