"My style of work is dynamic, focusing on voices of those who are often unheard [in society]," said Onyinye Zennia, a Nigerian artist who uses a string method to construct her powerful pieces. "The interplay of different colorful strokes of thread on nails is used to reveal fading culture and political issues." She discusses those themes in some of her most thought-provoking artworks...
1. Bleeding Rose
"Bleeding Rose is a figurative image showing two powerful hands of a man and woman squeezing life out of a fetus. For me, this portrays the abuse of human life in all forms and the frustrations and helplessness of situations experienced by most Nigerian/African children."
2. Behind Closed Doors
"This artwork emphasizes that aspect in our life that is open only to ourselves, which may be offensive when shared publicly. It portrays where we are completely and who we are without pretense, as we cover to uncover."
3. Tears of the People
"Each time I hear of an attack or abduction, I begin to imagine the endless tears that has run down the eyes of thousands of mothers, enough to complete a river flow. With this work, I have tried to visually capture, measure, and collect those tears. I still wonder if they will ever stop."
4. Mutilated Beauty
"This one exposes that part of our life that is covered or hidden because of fear of rejection. Generally, women are considered the epitome of beauty. In this work, [the woman's] face is partly covered, signifying the abuse of beauty in nature and human life. When [women] are afraid of abuse, they in turn cover their real identity or withdraw, but there's always a revelation in concealment."
5. Stuck in Vow
"She's stuck in the vows of her marriage; her expectations are smashed and left with nothing but worries of life. What she's pursuing is a lost cause; it is deep and disturbed thinking."
6. Child Brides
"They're too young to marry. In Africa today, some girls are abandoned by their families in the name of early marriage, and their education is denied. Educating girls is a necessary investment for a peaceful and poverty-free world."
7. Rhythm of Love
"This one emphasizes the beauty of love, depicting dance and rhythm of the couple over the pain that love [may bring]."
When asked what she feels is the place of artistic expression in society, Zennia explained, "Art remains the only way through which I share my thoughts and ideas. My works are always laden with emotions and aesthetics." And we're especially moved by your work. Thank you for sharing, Onyinye. ◆
Follow Onyinye on Instagram @zennia_art to see more of her work.