Chidinma Nnoli started down the path of her painting career switching from majoring in textile design to majoring in painting at the last minute because it felt like a more malleable means of creating art. Right after bagging her Fine and Applied Arts degree at the University of Benin, her launch into the Nigerian and gradually international art scene has been “fast-paced and surreal”.
Chidinma’s environment inspires her oil on canvas and renaissance style of painting. Growing up in a home filled with catholic symbols and figurines; the pastel colours, rough wall textures, and flowers. It is through these catholic imageries that Chidinma explores the sisterhood, family and female friendships, and bring her figures to life.
Chidinma, through her paintings, talks about personal, mostly sad, experiences as a teenager transitioning into adulthood growing up navigating family relationships within a strict religious environment, and the trauma of emotional repression endured, thus the sombre figures. These are sometimes represented as her sisters or friends, who also share similar experiences, and bond over them.
Using hardened, leftover oil paint, Chidinma creates “flower paintings” over small pieces of leftover canvas. These paintings, she has compiled over the years in hopes to exhibit someday.
However, the flowers which the artist infuses into her works were born out of the need to create a utopia or safe space to situate the sombre-looking figures which represent multiple versions of herself, and at other times, her sisters or friends. The flowers represent beauty, freedom and safety.
This piece titled, “Hold me while we wait” explores friendships among women while on the journey to discovering or remaking their identities, and the solace that they bring.
“Ezi na ulo”, which means “family” in the Igbo language, explores family relationships, especially with an oppressive father figurehead.