Nnamdi Okonkwo

Bio / Sculpture Photos
Nnamdi Okonkwo

Nnamdi Okonkwo

I was born in Eastern Nigeria in 1965 and from childhood was drawn to art, an inclination always encouraged by my mother, a school teacher, who was also blessed with artistic talents, but did not have the opportunity to pursue an art career.  My mother not only encouraged but also persuaded me to study art when everyone else discouraged it on the grounds of it being impractical.  Any glory or acclaim that ever comes to me as an artist, I will attribute directly to my mother and wife, the two people who have stood by me and have never wavered in their encouragement and support for me as an artist.

By the time I was seventeen I knew two things:  I was artistic and I was tall—six feet nine inches, to be exact.  I first formally studied art at the Institute of Management and Technology in Enugu, where I received a diploma in painting, but I was always more attracted to sculpture.  In Nigeria, however, resources for a young sculptor were limited.  A few years later, I was recruited by BYU-Hawaii to play on the basketball team, and there found my opportunity to nourish all my talents, especially in sculpting.  I played basketball until 1993 and graduated with a BFA in sculpture, then went on to receive my MFA in sculpture from BYU-Provo in 1997.  There I met and married my wife, and over the years, we have been blessed with three children, and have now made our home and studio in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Up to this time I have been particularly interested in the connection between art and its capacity to beautify, as well as ennoble, and uplift the human soul.  From experience it is very clear to me that art is spiritual, not only in its creation but also in its appreciation. Therefore, my lifelong quest has been, and is, to continue to search for the most sublime in my artistic expressions, which is capable of the greatest inspiration to the soul, and which has the capacity, in the words of Picasso, "to wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life."  I believe in art being more than just for art's sake, or even just for the inherent need the artist has for personal expression. I feel that art must contribute in tangible ways to the quality of life. There is a higher ideal to which art can remind and compel us.

My works can be found in various galleries and museums, as well as in sculptures gardens and private collections throughout the world.  My latest work is a large-scale commission installed in the city of Changsha, China. 

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Preferred material(s): Bronze/Metal
Home: Fayetteville, Ga
Years experience: 26
Price range: $475 - $17500