Victor Ekpuk’s art blends symbols from traditional African writing systems, such as the ideographic nsibidi, with designs he coins and others gathered from the world around him. The script that results from this synthesis is meant to create a feeling and an understanding of the human experience that transcends what can be literally read or translated. One symbol in a painting or drawing can represent a concept and make a statement; many symbols can form a narrative about life in the contemporary world.
The selection of Ekpuk’s work contributed to the AKALA project can serve as an introduction to non-Western writing systems; gaining some basic knowledge of nsibidi is certainly useful when students and scholars formally consider his work. However, Ekpuk ultimately believes that his work can resonate with viewers with no such training—those who simply immerse themselves in the formal and emotional wonder of his compositions and imbue them with their own stories.
Jessica Bailey (2010)
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