Coffee & Uche Okeke S2EP2 - Key Takeaways with Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu

Published 26 April 2024 in Podcast

Uche Okeke Legacy Editorial

We recently had the pleasure of chatting with the incredibly talented artist, Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu. Host Salma Uche-Okeke and Tamzin Lovell explored Yadichinma's artistic journey, uncovering her influences, aspirations, and the essence of her work.

Our conversation kicked off with Yadichinma’s reflections on her artistic beginnings and journey as a self-taught artist, travelling back to her childhood roots filled with curiosity and a passion for experimenting with new and varied realms of creation. Yadichinma’s early sketches have evolved alongside her into the intricate and varied creations she makes today, and it’s clear that her journey has been fuelled by a profound love for creation.

As we chatted further, Yadichinma shared meaningful insights into how her upbringing and cultural heritage have shaped her art. She beautifully expressed how her mother's admiration for antiquities and her exposure to Nigerian mythology has enriched her work, highlighting the importance of staying connected to one's roots. When asked who a notable influence was to her on her journey, Yadichinma highlighted the father of this legacy, Uche Okeke, and how his writings and conduct have had an incredible effect on her and her practice

Throughout our conversation, Yadichinma stressed the value of embracing experimentation and pushing artistic boundaries, something Uche Okeke too was well versed in and famously known for, and we discussed Bruce Onobrakpeya’s 26th Harmattan Workshop where Yadichinma and Salma met. Bruce Onobrakpeya’s Harmattan Workshop Series are informal style workshops that cover various mediums, from textiles and ceramics to painting and printmaking, and are a welcoming space for creatives from across the globe to connect and collaborate. 

Through spaces like these, the methodologies and philosophies of Natural Synthesis, and the minds and hearts of individuals like Uche Okeke, Bruce Onobrakpeya and others are carried forward, encouraging scores of creatives to this day. Yadichinma’s message to fellow artists was clear and echoes those that came before her: be open to new mediums, ideas, and experiences, as they can lead to discovering one's true artistic voice.

Wrapping up our discussion, Yadichinma shared her excitement for upcoming projects, including residencies in South Africa and bronze casting in Benin. Her dedication to growth and innovation in the art world is truly inspiring. In essence, our interview with Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu offers a glimpse into the soul of an artist whose creativity knows no limits and is truly one to look out for!

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