Peter Uka in New York, NY

I am back from six weeks in New York City where I visited a lot of galleries I hadn’t been to before. The Flag Art Foundation is a beautiful gallery space in Chelsea, which I will be keeping on my radar.

On the top floor of the gallery was Peter Uka: Remembrance, the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York. Yet again, photos do not do this bold work justice.

“Peter Uka’s larger-than-life paintings reference the modernist/post-independence era in Nigeria and draw from everyday life events he encountered as a child in the 70s and 80s. Based in Cologne, Germany, since 2008, Uka has created a unique aesthetic vision that meshes real-life compositions (painted from pictures with staged props and backgrounds), those channeled from memory, and a flirtation with nostalgia. He uses these techniques and inventions to further articulate his depictions of a surreal past. The tensions within a post-independence society attempting to find its identity by breaking with Western ideals, and at the same time aspiring to the fashion and technology of an imposed modernity, can all be felt in his paintings.” (The Flag Art Foundation)

Dengue Pose II, 2018
Oil on canvas
78 3/4” x 57 1/8 in.

“The themes in Uka’s work may be perceived as another painterly expression of Blackness–taking into consideration global tensions surrounding the issues of racial equality. Still, a conversation with the multi-talented artist reveals deeper roots linked to his migration from Nigeria to Germany and a longing to connect with home. Place, time, identity, and memory are some of the factors that define his practice irrespective of his chosen medium.” (The Flag Art Foundation)

Front Yard Things, 2020
Oil on canvas
78 3/4” x 55 1/8 in.
Basement Barbers, 2018
Oil on canvas
65” x 79 in.
Highlife (Funky Groove 2), 2021
Oil on canvas
78 3/4” x 110 1/4 in.
Marsha, 2021
Oil on canvas
70 7/8” x 70 7/8 in.
Veranda Lovers, 2021
Oil on canvas
74 4/5” x 96 23/50 in.
Sideburn Brothers, 2021
Oil on canvas
86 5/8” x 74 3/4 in.

Read this to learn more about Peter Uka. The show is up through June 4, 2022.

Leave a Reply