RitaDoris Ubah

RitaDoris Ubah

RitaDoris Edumchieke Ubah is a Nigerian artist and teacher. She is from Uga, married to Arondizuogu in Ideato North Local Government in Imo state, Nigeria. RitaDoris is Passionate about Art and has earned the following qualifications: BA, MILD, MFA and Ph.D. Ubah’s experience in art teaching spans the various stages of art education. She taught art for many years in high schools in Lagos, where she was highly sought after as an art consultant for O' and A’LEVEL IGCSE (ART & DESIGN) & IB across Nigeria. Ubah has also worked with students in various schools in Nigeria including those with special needs, whom she has taught how to learn and express themselves through the instrumentality of art.

After specializing in textiles, an aspect of art she has practiced with great dedication, Ubah has explored the colours and idioms of the locally dyed Tie and Dye (Adire) and batik fabrics. She also uses multi-coloured threads to weave fabrics, apparels, and objects which she often uses for her installations. Dr.RitaDoris Edumchieke Ubah is inspired by nature, culture and the variations of issues spurned by the existential realities in the society. Evident in her work is the fascination for the interplay of colours and forms in both the natural and man-made worlds. Ubah is an energetic and prolific artist and is currently a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where she graduated as the best student in 1993. She teaches Art History, Fibre and Textile Arts. She just concluded a five year research using fibres and fabrics which ended with a solo exhibition in Belgium and Germany in August 2019. Ubah has won so many art Awards and competitions as a student and a teacher. She participated in the Arkane Afrika art exhibition (5th edition) which was held in Casablanca Morocco between 9th -23rd of October 2019. Newspaper Review
The Journey

During my early childhood, I remember quite clearly that I was always curious about things, eager to know their origin. It was a mystery to me. I would often listen to the sound of birds perching on the trees. I admired the lizards as each looked at the other in a quiet conversation, their heads nodding in agreement. I admired the green vegetation around our family compound, with trees bowing their heads to the gentle pressure of the breeze or twirling when hit by the racing wind. I participated in the folk stories of the moonlit nights, when we sat on a mat around the flame that burned from the palm oil lantern and listened to tales from the elderly ones of the household. These were cherished nights that I often recall in my memory. The imageries from these folktales have been stored in the subconscious without me knowing that they are being stored. I also admired the Uli paintings on the walls of many family compounds, as well as women’s body painting, another form of uli. I was attracted by the drawings on the bodies of these women done in delicate lines and beautiful colours and designs which the walls were painted with. These always seemed to tell us that the periodic festivals were at the corner. Little did I know that in my adulthood I would go back in time to draw from these experiences for my artistic inspiration. Then I did not know that uli was actually drawings in traditional contexts. I was also fascinated by other forms of women’s body adornment consisting of beautiful hair coiffure, wristlets and anklets. I saw women wearing ivory tusks-an indication of high social status. I grew up with art everywhere around me like the breath of life.

After my formal training in art, I specialized in textile art and learnt how to produce printed fabrics, including adire and tie and dye. My engagement with creative experiments began when I veered into explorations in textiles. I was struck by the idea that it will be possible to reconnect some elements of our existence with textile production. I focused on traffic congestion in Lagos, in order to expose something of social tension caused by traffic gridlock. I bought some textile dyes and followed up the sketches on traffic congestion and then transferred the drawings unto the T-shirts and began to paint the compositions using brushes and spray brushes as a painter would on the canvas. This was a form of experimental art. By wearing the textile paintings, I began to see textile art as embedded in social issues. As I did this, I began to experience some forms of imaginative leap. I began to explore the rich tradition of Yoruba textile design and production techniques. Having mastered this, I began to reinvent them with my own designs which were aligned to new pictorial compositions as a means of reconnecting my art from traditions to art modernity. To further this trajectory, I began to explore the creative potentials of Uli-an artform traditionally practiced by Igbo females. My interest in Uli is because of its essentially linear qualities and how it could be used to generate textile designs and imageries. Still in furtherance of these creative directions, not only did I transform my newly created textile design fabrics into wearing apparels, but I also used them in the context of performance and installation art. Experimenting with textile installations and found objects, and using fabrics as a wrap for various objects such as vehicles and pots, I have creatively transgressed the divide between textiles and ceramics. My textile art continues in the direction of more daring use of fiber and wool to create miniaturized three dimensional forms that are in between textile and sculpture. My work has opened up in many directions from my creative explorations of not only materials but also cultural and social issues as if to bond the earth and the firmament.