Spotlight on Uche Okeke

iwalewabooks has moved to Johannesburg and presents its publishing activities, putting a spotlight on the book “Art in Development” by Uche Okeke together with the Nigeria-based Asele Institute.

Art in Development –
A Nigerian Perspective

Artists: Uche Okeke – Nigeria
Goldendean – South Africa
Rai Gandra, Hélio Ronyvon,
Fernando Donato & Roberta de Oliveira – Brazil
Curators: Loren Ijeoma Uche-Okeke (Nigeria/South Africa)
Nadine Siegert (Germany/South Africa)

Uche Okeke’s Art in Development – A Nigerian Perspective is the most important publication by the founding father of Nigerian modernism. Originally published in 1982, the book compiles texts, interviews, concept papers and other material from the late 1950s until the 1980s, containing such important texts like the “Natural Synthesis” manifesto of the Zaria Art Society from 1960. Having been out of print for many years, this re-edition by iwalewabooks wants to bring these texts back to life for artists, academics and an interested public.

Goldendean: Plan B. A Gathering of Strangers (Or) This Is Not Working

Goldendean’s “PLAN B. A gathering of strangers (or) this is not working”, reflects on the affects of Goldendean’s performance of the very simple acts of dissidence in a transgressive Fat Queer White Trans Body. It explores how strategies of Technology as Self-Reflection and Radical Sharing; Queer Love and Queer Disobedience contribute to “making whiteness strange” by destabilizing the normal invisibility of whiteness to bring white bodies under surveillance.

iwalewabooks is a publishing house for art and discourse. Dedicated to questions about aesthetic social discourse, the politics of collecting and debates about archives, artistic and academic positions from the Global South. All publications are based on the conviction that creating books is an aesthetic and collective endeavour. Many volumes are therefore produced in collaboration with research projects as well as cultural and societal initiatives. iwalewabooks is currently based in Bayreuth (Germany) and Johannesburg (South Africa).

Asele Institute is the brainchild of master artist and scholar Professor Uche Okeke. The Institute began its lifecycle as a cultural centre in the Northern Nigerian town of Kafanchan in 1958. It was later moved to Enugu in Eastern Nigeria and then to its final location in Uche Okeke’s hometown of Nimo in the early 70s. The purview of the Institute expanded, and its core objectives outlined, these included;

  • Promoting the arts.
  • Promoting aesthetic social discourse.
  • Promoting the culture of Nigeria and Africa with an emphasis on Igbo and Igboid cultures, arts and oral/literary traditions.
  • Promoting the documentation of research through publications – Asele Institute is currently a recognised publisher with a number of internationally  launched publications.
  • Asele Institute has thousands of research Theses from first degree to PhD level covering a vast area of Nigerian scholarly thought from the arts and related areas to linguistics, archeology, sociology, engineering, the sciences etc from the unique Nigerian perspective.

AI is currently being re-engineered after the passing of its muse Professor Uche Okeke to be even more effective at using technology and global linkages to achieving its mission. AI has embraced technology in encouraging innovative ways of supporting and propagating our rapidly evolving African culture.

Uche Okeke Legacy came into being in 2016 and has been formally registered as a holding company for the estate of the late master artist, academic and scholar, Uche Okeke. The intellectual, creative and material property of Uche Okeke in its entirety is managed by Uche Okeke Legacy (UOL) with the sole purpose of protecting, preserving, propagating and promoting the ideologies and artistic legacy bestowed by Uche Okeke. 

UOL is the custodian of Uche Okeke’s Artistic and Literary assets. 

UOL is a Special Purpose Vehicle warehousing Professor Uche Okeke’s intellectual property, his vast artistic output and his huge personal collection of art and documents. 

This collection of art and the extensive associated archives are held by UOL in a special relationship with ASELE INSTITUTE, an organisation set up in 1958 by Uche Okeke, and access is available to the global public, art lovers, academics and other interested publics.

The Key responsibilities of UOL are:

  • To preserve all intellectual, artistic and material property in the late Uche Okeke’s Estate.
  • To manage and hold legal rights to any enterprise arising from the sale of Uche Okeke themed merchandise including limited edition items ranging from prints of artworks to textile, ceramics, etc.
  • To support the non-profit activities of Asele Institute through in-kind and financial donations.
  • To hold all copyright to Uche Okeke’s intellectual and artistic property and manage any income from loan of artworks, permissions to use images or excerpts from Uche Okeke’s books published under Asele Institute, in publications or on wall surfaces or for projects, activities etc. 
  • To expand on the existing community of artists, intellectuals, researchers, scholars, poets and institutions affiliated to Asele Institute through activities/projects/events that promote scholarship, innovation, development, exchange of knowledge, cultural entrepreneurship and professionalism.