Born in the usually cold city of Jos in Nigeria, Phillips Nzekwe is a leading environmental artist who repurposes discarded materials to create sculptures, designs and paintings. His technique is inspired by a combination of African traditional art, notably the lost wax cast method of ancient Benin, vernacular architecture, contemporary 3D animated images and finally by his love for the environment and the impact on it of climate change.
Nzekwe sculptures, which are often critiques of modern cultural practices, are created from repurposed wood dust which is sourced from local landfills; this mitigates against the environmental damage caused from the release of harmful gaseous emission if the wood dust is disposed of in conventional fashion which would usually be through burning or harmful decay.
Nzekwe obtained a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in sculpture from the Delta State University and University of Benin respectively. After taking a studio sabbatical in 2010 for a PhD, Nzekwe returned to full time studio practice in 2012. A participant in several artist residencies, exhibitions and workshops, his last solo show was held at the National Museum Lagos.
He lives and works in his Lagos studio with his wife Julie, who is also an artist, his studio assistant and their sons.