May 31, 2005

Dear Victor,

From beginning to end, it was a pleasure to have collaborated with you in organizing your solo exhibition StoryLines at the Takoma Park campus of Montgomery College. For auspiciously opening the Spring 2005 semester with your show and now in closing it, I wish, first and foremost, through this open letter to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for presenting yourself and your printed drawings to the students, faculty and staff of Montgomery College. You gave us refreshingly current, sympathetic insights to Africa and African art, reminding us of art’s origins in our shared humanity and its power to heal, enlighten and inspire altruistic action. For this you deserve more than mere thanks, thus my expansion of this epistolary opportunity into an homage to your quiet leadership in contemporary African art and an interpretation of the body of work you chose to present in StoryLines.

You rose brilliantly to the occasion of creating StoryLines. I, in turn, as consulting curator, was relieved and thankful that you are a true professional who can agree so easily to a last minute invitation to mount a solo show on the heels of an artist residency at Brandeis University. Your calm, professional manner gave me complete assurance that you could cope with the short lead-time for producing an appropriate body of work. It did not go unnoticed that you were always congenial in assisting me, Wil Brunner, Maureen Kohl and others in the art department with the installation, marketing, programming and didactics. It is no overestimation to say that your consistent engagement, cooperative presence and inputs large and small made StoryLines: The Drawings of Victor Ekpuk, on view from February 7 to March 17, 2005, the most socially and historically significant exhibition of the three I have to date curated for Black History Month in the Pavilion of Fine Arts gallery on the Takoma Park campus. (The others were Beyond Beauty: Sculptural Aesthetics of African Vodun in the Boulos-Villain Collection in 2003 and last year Selections from the Frank Erwin Collection of African Art.)

The opening talk and reception for StoryLines were well attended by a capacity crowd of students and staff in addition to artists, Africanist art historians, gallerists, family and friends who had become ardent admirers of your art practice and pleasant personality in the six years since you moved to the Washington, D.C. area from the Republic of Benin. Our interview, an attempt at autobiographical chronology without being pedantic, was a relaxed, personable telling of your story in your own voice about how and why you became a visual artist in your home country Nigeria, evolving from there to that moment. Some of what you said is reconstructed below for posterity and the vicarious pleasure of those unable to be present.

An Open Thank You Letter


Prof. Francine Farr (Curator)


1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Click image to view slideshow of exhibition

© 2007 Victor Ekpuk, All rights reserved


Obiora UdechukwuObiora_Udechukwu.html
Chika OkekeChika_Okeke.html
Allyson PurpuraAllyson_Purpura.html
Mark AuslanderAuslander.html
Amanda CarlsonAmanda_Carlson.html
Francine Farr