Rewa is a self-taught artist and her art is mainly women-inspired.
“I never received formal art training; I am self-taught and developed my innate talent from a very early age. My father also encouraged my creative drive, his expansive art collection from West Africa provided further impetus for my development. My preferred medium of acrylics and watercolours on cartridge paper provides the immediacy, proximity and transparency to express my most personal experiences and influences living between Lagos, London and Johannesburg; cities I consider home.
“My artwork represents and glorifies women in our numerous forms; as goddesses, as travellers and most recently, as inexorable forces behind naming rite of the Igbo culture.”
The degree holder in Physiology and Pharmacology from University College London (UCL) who currently works as the Head of Corporate Development and Investor Relations for a Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed company decided to pursue art as a form of catharsis following a nadir.
“I created my first 14-piece body of work, The Pantheon, celebrating Nigerian deities which was very well received and led to my appointment as ReLe Gallery’s 2017 Young Contemporary in Lagos, Nigeria. In this same year, the prestigious Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) in Mayfair, London invited me to participate in a joint exhibition, themed ‘Her Story: Sisterhood That Transcends,’ alongside an acclaimed Dutch photographer, Dagmar van Weeghel.
“My collection, Onicha Ado N’Idu delved into the significance of naming rite and traditions within the Igbo culture in Nigeria – how the names shape the identity of the individuals they are bestowed upon. My work was also featured at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, New York as part of MoCADA’s annual 2017 gala. Most recently, the School of African & Oriental Studies (SOAS) in London, in conjunction with Cambridge University, approached me to work as one of the visual creatives for their upcoming three-year long Colonial Archives project.”
“I am currently working on a new body of work and it’s all very exciting! The female form will continue to be the subject matter but now my women will move away from portraiture and go on journeys of their own; I will begin scene-setting and will encompass the entire form of my subject.
This collection will be based on the Igbo tradition of Inu-Nwunye, Bride Price. Inu Nwunye will showcase a maiden’s passage from Inyo-Uno, the introduction ceremony, all the way through to Inu-Mmanya, the palm wine carrying (marriage) ceremony.”
Women inspire Rewa’s art. “I have so many adjectives I can attach to women and the female form – beautiful, potent, surreal – to name a few. Women give birth to life, women are society’s vertebrae – how can anyone not be inspired by WOMAN? I find so much beauty in women that I come across, in their eyes, their cheekbones, and their chi.”
“My spiritual anchors are all women (my husband and father being the only exceptions); my grandmother, my mother, my sisters, my closest friends. My first private collection, The Pantheon (The Goddesses), fortified me; they saw me through at a time that I needed it most. My second collection, The Travellers, saw me safely back home.”
“The women who comprised my third collection, Onicha Ado N’Idu, these women have mended, enriched and succoured me throughout the various stages of my life; they have made me whole. I want my audience, whether male or female, to look at one of my women and be able to identify with her story and the meaning behind her name. I want her to represent a message, a memory, a story or a prayer for the viewer.”
“Concurrently, I am also inspired by my culture and one of my main artistic goals is to continue to bring the Igbo culture and heritage to the fore. A lot of my generation within the Diaspora, myself included, are losing some elements of our heritage, therefore, I would like to perpetuate key elements of Igbo traditions and language through my art.”
Reach her on