Swiss-Nigerian artist Valerie Etitinwo creates abstract figurative paintings which celebrate the beauty of ugliness and awkwardness. Raised with dichotomous cultures, Etitinwo found art as a coping mechanism to interpret the world around her. Having developed a love for art at a young age, she joined an atelier for mentorship with a professional artist in 2007. It was then that she began to hone her craft and thus found new ways of applying her skill through mediums such as pottery, painting, charcoal and collage.
Finding herself drawn to the cubism movement, Etitinwo got the inspiration that she needed to create ‘outside the box’ of realism. “I’ve always admired artists who can draw realistic-looking images because I’ve never been able to do so. In fact, I got frustrated at some point and decided to do the complete opposite”. It was this abandonment of logic that helped her find her own style using mainly acrylic to depict purported human figures and warped objects against vividly colored backgrounds.
This approach also became a fitting metaphor for her experience as a first-generation immigrant in Switzerland. “I think that we are very unique. We don’t quite fit in with our surroundings, but we’re also light-years apart from our parent’s world. So, there’s no blueprint to follow. That’s it. That’s what my work is about.”
In 2021 Etitinwo began an explorative journey in Lagos, Nigeria where she would reconnect with her origins and develop her creativity even further. “It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Lagos is the city that fully adopted me and my artistic style. It has one of the most bubbling art scenes on the continent and I’m so glad to be a part of it.” Her work has, since then, been exhibited across 3 different continents and been celebrated for its boldness.
We would love to keep you informed about our nomadic art and artists. Sign up to receive news.