Uzor Ugoala is one of the seven artists selected for the inaugural G.A.S. Fellowship Award earlier this year. A self-taught Nigerian conceptual photographer, he creates visually stimulating and introspective images that explore the human psyche in relation to the nuances of our existence. Through his imagery, he attempts to provoke thought in the viewer by employing deliberately composed elements comprising of hand-fabricated props together with a generalised aesthetic of muted colours.
He views conceptual photography as a curious means of soul-searching and draws a rich blend of inspiration from downtempo trance music, nature, sculpture, surreal paintings and photographs, introspection, real-life experiences, psychology literature and conceptual animation.
We spoke to Uzor, who began his residency in June 2022, about his plans, aspirations and experience of the opportunity so far.
What is the current focus of your creative practice?
I want to explore sculpture in my work as a ‘stand-alone’ medium from my photography, particularly with wood as a material. Wood has a tremendous appeal for me to work with.
What drew you to apply for this residency and how do you think it will inform your wider practice?
I have been a fan of Yinka Shonibare’s work for some time and so for me, the G.A.S. residency application provided two things: an opportunity to get closer to him in any form (through his books for example) and secondly, an opportunity to explore my sculptural ideas. Moving forward, I shall be working more confidently with wood and also explore more materials such as soapstone.
Uzor Ugoala working on a new sculptural piece during his G.A.S. residency.
Can you give an insight into how you’ve been using the opportunity so far and what you’re working towards?
The funding from the residency has been poured into acquiring materials to work with and has afforded me the ‘luxury’ of trial and error in creating work. I have also been able to network with brilliant people in the art ecosystem, it has been an honour.
True North by Uzor Ugoala
For more information about Uzor visit www.uzorugoala.com or follow him on Instagram (@uzorugoala) or Twitter (@uzor_ugoala)
Title image: The Escape II by Uzor Ugoala
All images courtesy of the artist.