‘Beyond The Humble Ink’ by Gerard Osenele Ukpan. Friday 1st of November

Beyond The Humble Ink (Inkspektrum): The words and images of a poet.  

Solo show – one day only. Private view and performance by the artist from 7pm.

I grew up in Ubiaja, a village in Nigeria. It has an inspiring nature trail and I remember growing up and how it was so natural to find beautiful Birds by ‘the doorsteps’ as well as Snakes sun bathing in the backyard. Growing up was fun and reading the language of nature in the absence of words has always thrilled and inspired me. Often times we would spot Vultures hovering up in the sky over sick farm animals on the verge of dying, or some other animals that had been knocked down by vehicles. We actually saw the vultures wait patiently for the animals to give up the ghost in order to have a meal.

This contrast of life and death as well as the infamous ‘middle passage’ has always intrigued me – thus the beginning of my journey.

I have always been a poet who often sketched as a hobby whilst commuting to and from work. It was never anything serious until I met Ulf Sandstrom, a Swedish Life Coach, trauma tapper and an excellent pianist. It was he who showed me with a few tasks the entire spectrum of my career as a ballpoint artist.

It all started when Ulf asked me to turn words into images in order to educate illiterate adults and street kids. I created series of images on the train (sometimes on the bus) whilst travelling to and from work. The time I spent travelling was the only time I had for myself, so I turned London transport into a studio. Together Ulf and I created therapeutic images to help people find the roots of their problems. We call them Path finder Cards. He always said to me ‘keep it going’ and even if the image went wrong he said ‘let your subconscious take control’

Since then I’ve been creating portraits, surrealist and abstract pieces with ballpoint pens (biros) on the train. My style has now evolved into a pure and unadulterated language that is intended to speak directly to your soul, without need for translation.

Read more:

Writings by Gerard Osenele Ukpan

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