Ernest Obukx Agoba

The Emergency Room Artist


Me and My Art!

 I paint! I am encouraged to paint by the urge to evoke critical thoughts on humanity, leadership,  and spiritual awareness in a world redolent with natural and man-made crises. I have christened my art  “The Emergency Room Art”  because I believe that hope and leadership centered works of art are so exigent in our present time that a work of art that does not strive after these could be deemed a waste of time.  It is my desire to occasionally  showcase a network of culturally divergent  artists whose visions and concepts  are in conformity with The Emergency Room Art concept.  I am  presently a professor of visual and performance arts in the University of Jos, Nigeria, where I mentor students in Fine Arts, Drama, and Photography. 

Artist Statement

My  artworks are influenced by contemporary global challenges, and by violation of human dignity, particularly in  Africa. These works, particularly in oils, carry a fluid, slightly recognizable  and recurring patterns that are considered abstracted derivatives of reality.  Often, these patterns are seen to  self-generate and morph onto more recognizably realistic forms. My art works  draw from the needs of contemporary society. Though sometimes I am not able to always achieve this, I shun overt abstractions and pure realism and embrace elements from both genres to enhance comprehension. I work mainly in oil colors because it is ductile, slow drying, and has the widest range of hues when compared to other mediums.   There are three themes into which my works  are spread.  I   contemplate critical problems in the first two themes, and ultimately attempt to resolve them in the third theme. While these three themes are easily  seen to overlap in some instances, I make constant efforts at creating distinct lines between them.  In order to make my works be overtly understood, I have too many times run into problems  with the law, and  with people against whom my works are directed through oral communicative means. While my art remains art, it is for me a medium through which I am eminently empowered to vocalize the fears and pains inflicted on man by man.

My Artwork Themes

I  delve into the tumultuous minds of people struggling to survive a world they did not bargain for. Here, I see man as covertly protective of his deep fears and anxieties, creating affectations  to conceal his weaknesses and storms.  With a world characterized by chaotic and heartbreaking moments, I see man desperately searching for hope in what appears a futility. This theme directs my art audience to answers hidden in eternal verities, behind mere forms and colors. 

Provoked by the dramatic and subtle interplays of light and dark in visible forms, I attempt to reinvent the poetic rhythms caught by this revelatory relationship. I  explore this in semi-abstract and semi-realistic images that delicately and intricately emphasize the superiority of light over dark. The variegated emphases on light and dark patterns delicately and intricately seek to explain postulations on spiritualism and freedom.

In a world suffused with leadership  inadequacies, deteriorating climate, increasing authoritarianism and inequality, many have come to regard hope with skepticism and disdain. In this theme, I  leave the realms of contemplation as may be seen in the other three themes, to motivate my art audience with images that  must inspire, pacify and embolden. In The Face of Hope, I paint, thinking that It may not matter how thick darkness may be, looking at images imbued with  hopeful thoughts  can heal or soften stings of deep wounds, remove furrows of despair, and lead us through dark nights. 

In this body of work, you will find works that are either distant from or only slightly related to the three listed themes I pre-occupy myself with. These works  may be rightly classified as muses on wider subject matters.   They reflect the pondering of my mind at the outset and midway of work. The may reflect my confusion, my moods, weaknesses and experimentations. This way, they may not overtly reflect my style, but they remain my works. 

Charity Through Art

 In line with my mission and set objectives, proceeds from the sales of my artworks, or any works associated with The Emergency Room Art, will  be used for creating social and spiritual re-orientation and for helping people and communities in crisis ridden areas in Africa. A major focus for achieving this is through strategic partnerships with people in relevant organizations. Partner with Me