Uchefuna Christopher Okeke, F.W.L.A, DDG, M.F.R 

An outstanding artist of international repute, Professor Uche Okeke remains one of the pillars on which contemporary Nigerian art rests, and the unarguable kingpin of Uli art practice in Nigeria. 

Uche Okeke was born on April 30, 1933 in Nimo, Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria.  Between 1940 and 1953, he attended St. Peter Claver’s (Primary) School, Kafanchan, Metropolitan College,  Onitsha and Bishop Shanahan College, Orlu, during which time he had already begun to demonstrate an avid  interest in drawing and painting. Before being admitted to read Fine Art at Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, now Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, UcheOkeke had already exhibited taxidermy work during the  Field Society meeting in Jos Museum, participated in the preparation and presentation of Nigerian Drawings and  Paintings with Bernard Fagg as curator and had a solo exhibition of drawings and paintings, in Jos and Kaduna  with Sir Ahmadu Bello in attendance. 

As an undergraduate in 1958, Uche Okeke together with Yusuf Grillo, Simon Okeke, Bruce Onobrakpeya,  Demas Nwoko, Oseloka Osadebe, Okechukwu Odita, Felix Ekeada and others inaugurated the now historically  significant Zaria Art society. In that same year he opened a cultural centre at 30 Ibadan Street, Kafanchan which  later grew into the world famous Asele Institute, Nimo, where among other cultural activities a part of the  Smithsonian-Institution sponsored educational film Nigerian Art-Kindred Spirits was shot in 1996.