Nengi Omuku (b.1987, Nigeria) is a visual artist and founder of The Art of Healing charity (TAOH) who lives and works between Lagos, Nigeria and London, United Kingdom. She completed her BA and MA at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London. Using the subject of the body to translate interior experience, Nengi Omuku’s expressive paintings portray abstracted figures among spectacular, celestial landscapes that draw evocatively from the natural world, horticulture, and creationism. Drawing inspiration from the social and psychological realities of her subjects, whom she has often photographed and painted in her studio, as well as from various sources in archival and contemporary media, she creates worlds in which the distinction between bodies and nature is often blurred, reflecting on the intricacies around navigating place and belonging. The images are rendered in oil paint and painted on strips of Sanyan; a pre-colonial western Nigerian fabric, created from woven threads of wild moth silk and blended with industrial cotton. For the artist, the blend of oil paint and Sanyan speaks to living between cultures, yet firmly contextualising her work within her local setting of Nigeria. 

 

Solo Exhibitions include (Upcoming) Kasmin Gallery, New York, USA (2024); As Water Never Touched, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA (2023); The Dance Of People And The Natural World, Hastings Contemporary, UK (2023-2024); Parables of Joy, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, UK (2022); Chorus, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2021); Gathering, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, UK (2020); Stages of Collapse, September Gray, Atlanta, USA (2017); A State of Mind, The Armory Show, New York, USA (2016); A State of Mind, Omenka Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria (2015); To Figure an Encounter, Open The Gate, London, UK (2011).

 

Group Exhibitions include (Upcoming) Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar, Senegal (2024); EXPO Chicago, Kristin Hjellgjerde Gallery, Chicago, IL (2024); A Spirit Inside, travelling exhibition, Compton Verney, UK (2024)Soulscapes, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, UK, (2024); Free The Wind, The Spirit, and The SunStephen Friedman Gallery, London (2023); A Spirit Inside, travelling exhibition, The Lightbox, Woking, UK (2023)Aso Oke: Prestige Cloth from Nigeria, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, USA (2023); Rites of Passage, Gagosian, curated by Péjú Oshin, London, UK (2023); CHAOS: CALM, Bangkok Art Biennale, Bangkok, Thailand (2022); The Company She Keeps, Tiwani Contemporary, Lagos, Nigeria (2022); Uprising, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2022); Dissolving Realms, curated by Katy Hessel, Kasmin Gallery, New York, USA (2022); What Lies Beneath: Women, Politics, Textiles, New Hall Art Collection, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge (2022); Ubuntu: I Am Because We Are, curated by Louise Stefanii, Africana Art Centre, online (2022); Self-Addressed, curated by Kehinde Wiley at Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, USA (2021); Ubunti: I Am Because We Are, World Trade Organisation, Headquarter, Geneva, Switzerland (2021); The Invincible Hands, Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Lagos, Nigeria (2021); À Corps Défendant, La Galerie, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Noisy-le-Sec, France (2021); Facing The Sun, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery,  Schloss Görne, Germany (2021); Dancing in Dark Times, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, UK (2021); All the Days and Nights, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, UK (2020); Untitled Art San Francisco, with Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, San Francisco, USA (2020); 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, UK (2019), Hospital Rooms, Griffin Gallery, London, UK (2018); At work, Arthouse, Lagos, Nigeria (2018); ARTX, Lagos, Nigeria (2017); Commotion, 1:54, London, UK (2017); Mapping Histories, Constructing Realities, ART15, London, UK (2015); The Next 50 Years, Omenka Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria (2014) and Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition, Jerwood Gallery, London, UK (2012).

 

Highlights and Collections

Nengi Omuku's work has been featured in various books and publications including the 2024 exhibition catalogue Soulscapes by Dulwich Picture Gallery and the 2023 exhibition catalogue Nengi Omuku, The Dance of People and The Natural World from her solo exhibition with Hastings Contemporary. Omuku was awarded the Civitella Ranieri Residency in Italy (April-June 2024), The Black Rock Senegal Residency (2022-2023), The World Trade Organisation Residency in Geneva (2021). Omuku received the Prankerd-Jones Memorial Prize, awarded by University College London (2012), the Nancy Balfour MA Scholarship, awarded by University College London (2011) and the British Council CHOGM art award presented by HM Queen Elizabeth II (2003). Commissions include the Arts Council England commission at Maudsley Hospital, London. Omuku’s work can be found in international private and public collections including: The HSBC Collection, the Bunker Artspace Museum, The Loewe Collection, The Monsoon Collection, The Easton Capital Collection, The Azman Museum, Dawn Art Collection, Ditau Collection, The Women's Art Collection, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, ICA Miami, Black Rock Senegal, The Whitworth, The Baltimore Museum of Art and The Norton Museum of Art.