Ndubuisi Nduwhite Ahanonu is a man whose days are brimming with activity. The self-proclaimed cultural activist runs the International Institute for Creative Development, Nigeria (IICD) and is co-curator at TEDxAsoRock; all while jetting around the world to exhibit his work as an artist.
Although Nduwhite is now a reasonably well-shown artist, he was reluctant to become one. As a young child he shied away from art because peers and teachers at school saw how talented he was and would commission him (of course for free!) to draw every chart, map or digestive system that was needed. “I found the pressure too much so I looked for ways to escape from it”, he said.
He was eventually captured by art after secondary school. He tells us, “I had no intention to study art at University but my aunt came home one day and saw my drawings. She told me I absolutely had to study Fine Arts at University”.
Does an art’s degree guarantee a great artist? No is the short answer. “I think it only makes you a better artist, but it has nothing to do with being a great artist”, says Nduwhite who exhibits his work at every occasion he gets. “My desire is to get my work shown to the whole world, so I put my work out there at every chance I get”, he said.
His work has recently been shown at Art as a Tool for Social Change and Imagination Beyond Borders (Transcorp Hilton, Abuja), Art Takes Times Square, (New York City), Mundus Maris General Assembly and Salle Henri Janne, (Brussels); to name a few.
In his experience, Nigerians patronize Nigerian artist and this has given him the right footing to be the kind of artist he really wants to be. Nduwhite sees himself as the kind artist who uses his work to challenge social constructs and provoke new insights.
Ndubuisi was born in Kano state and spent some time there before moving to Owerri, Imo State. He has a degree in Fine and Applied Art from University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He also studied Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin under the sponsorship of the Ford Foundation. He is presently taking Social Psychology at Wesleyan University in a distance learning program.
When Nduwhite isn’t making art, he’s at his day job like most of us. He runs the International Institute for Creative Development, Nigeria (IICD), a capacity building center located in Abuja. It provides technical assistance for creative people and helps with managing cultural exchange programs that advance cultural diplomacy and social development. The center also organizes art exhibitions, workshops and seminars, and art classes for all levels.
Nduwhite is also co-curator at TEDxAsoRock. He became involved because besides founding IICD, he felt there were still avenues for him to create social change.
Its almost all work and no play for this busy bee but he manages to unwind by going restaurant hunting on the weekends. Hanging out is rare since he is so occupied with putting together the TEDxAsoRock event this November.
He stays inspired by making sure he keeps people with positive dispositions around him and challenges himself by reading or listening to books. His role models in the art world are Dr. Bruce Onabrakpeye, Victor Ehikhamenor, Ndidi Dike, Essien Nsikak, and Michelangelo while some young artists to watch out for include Ndidi Emeifele and Tyna Adebowale.
Nduwhite’s two cents to young artists are “Define your own success. Have a purpose or discover your purpose, it helps you reduces all the plenty options and activities requesting our attention. Be a voice, study and try to use your art to make here better than you met it. Most importantly, seek God for He is still the ultimate and will always be.”