Nigeria: Ighiwiyisi Jacob Ignites Lagos With Debut Solo Exhibition

30 July 2021

From being an interior designer to shouldering the responsibility of being the daughter of the legendary artist, Erhabor Emokpae, the co-founder of the Gallery at the Landmark, Ighiwiyisi Jacobs makes a debut on the Lagos visual art scene with her solo show.

Ighiwiyisi Jacobs is many things to many people: a great speaker, lawyer by training, writer and entrepreneur. But not everyone could have thought of her as an artist some years ago. An emerging visual and spatial artist, she is the creative director of Hermosa Boda, a spatial design service that has run successfully since 2015. A graduate of Law at the University of Lagos, she began her journey in visual arts as a child surrounded by the art of her father, Erhabor Emokpae, the visual flair of her mother, Ikpakpa Emokpae and her brother Isaac Emokpae, himself a well-established artist and confidante for her.

Apart from being the Creative Director of a custom production design company, she enjoys shopping. Once, she was submerged in surround merchandising at a shopping mall for hours. She was curious as to how she lost the sense of time and then discovered that the visually-appetizing art designs for the window displays could have been the reason. Hence, she developed a keen interest in window merchandising. Part of her work had been to build a production set design in lieu of the usual balloon-themed backdrops at parties.

Her name-Ighiwiyisi bears a burden of history tied to her late father. The name was given to her by her father at about a period when he travelled away from Nigeria.

"Ighiwiyisi means I will not be lost in a strange land," she said as she explained why that was the select title for her debut show.

The show is a personal journey for this budding artist whose father is regarded as one of the pioneers of modern arts in Nigeria.

"There are many moments of my life captured on canvas. The idea is to find specific things that are common to humanity. Everyone understands grief, heartbreak, promises and prophecies," she continued.

Her father died a year after she was born. Fast-forward to August 8, 2018 which became her eureka moment, she recalled how she began to make drawings that she ordinarily would have paid an artist to make.

"We were fully booked and there was no one to do the artwork. I needed to put the design down for the production. I sat down to sketch. On that day, I sat down at the table and I was just drawing. I didn't want to miss that moment. This is why the exhibition will open on August 8. I call it an impartation. I don't see myself as an artist but as a channel-God draws through me," she said.

With eight works on panel and four works on canvas, she explores impasto and expressionism amongst others. With emphasis on female portraits, art is her long-awaited catharsis.

"I want people to see themselves and appreciate the journey. I want people to use my journey to appreciate theirs. We want people who are almost giving up on life to see that is gets better. You can be gifted and be mediocre. You must treat that gift properly apply yourself to it daily. If you are gifted and you put in dedication, there's no telling where you'd go," she added.

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