Valerie Fab-Uche’s earliest memory of starting out as an artist was making comic strips for her friends in primary school. Taking up art professionally was not an option till life happened.
A gap year, a rejected admission status to study Law in the University of Lagos, and lots of thinking later, Valerie went on to study Fine Arts in Yaba College of Technology.
Initially, young Valerie in 2015, new to the art scene set out obsessed with masquerades and the intention of painting them, which was heavily influenced by her love for the Igbo culture.
Works of older artists helped Valerie find her footing regarding the direction she wanted her art to go. According to the artist, “now that you have this superpower, what do you want to talk about with it?”
Researching led her to create Nsibidi pieces with Uli- decorative skin designs- which she used to portray feelings that could not be put to words. Along the line, anxiety problems surfaced and bore the need for the artist to create abstract line pieces, through one hand free strokes, as a form of therapy.
Her line drawings saw an evolution when the artist started creating straw installation pieces. Valerie emphasizes her pieces are drawings, not sculptural pieces one would assume them to be on first encounter, her reason being that “drawings can be any and everything, no limits to what it can be, and you can use almost anything to create it.”
The straw drawings, pipe drawings, and bending wire drawings, are all end results of the artist’s self-therapy sessions.
Valerie likens the semblance of her pieces to the experiences of human beings. Humans go through the same challenges in life but do not experience them the same way.
The pipe drawing represents how human beings are bound in sameness through the blood and all its components.
In her recent body of work, Valerie expresses her anxiety disorder through drawings of human figures with straw heads.
The straws are placed in cartoon-like scribbles to show the different distorted thoughts that people who suffer from these anxiety disorders are plagued with.
The marbling textures used to bring the straw headed figures to life are used to depict body hairs, stretch marks, and the biological components beneath the skin, things that make up the human body.
Valerie Fab-Uche is a research-based artist, who seeks to communicate things she cannot verbally express. She is also an art educator, and sometime in the future hopes to be an art curator.