Art was my first language.”
— Austino ‘Obi’ Okafor
The music starts. The artist, dressed fully in white, as the color of his canvas, begins to move, slowly at first; sensually. He studies the canvas that is placed on the ground or propped up on an
easel; moves in and away from it, until he is propelled to make the first stroke—confidently—with a palette knife. As he continues to channel inspiration from the percussion-infused music, the knife glides across the canvas, scrapes it in a seemingly spontaneous pattern. Yet every stroke is full of intension and color. He drips the paint directly out of a large container. He wipes his fingers on the white overalls. When the palette knife is surrendered and paint brushes take over the finer details, the supplies case may be used as a palette. The wooden Egyptian symbol of eternal life—ankh—that hangs around the artist’s neck may fly off into a corner with a single gesture of his arm. In the world of Austino ‘Obi’ Okafor’s creation, anything might happen and everything is play.
A Nigerian born and trained fine artist, Austino does not lack inspiration for his work. He tells stories of his ancient culture and race with an equal amount of anguish and celebration; but his themes never lack a universal commonality. After all, love and war, sex and spirituality will always have an audience; and Austino includes his own public in his favored style of creation: the live painting performance that he calls “Difusion.” His color palette is lush like the natural environs of his homeland (Austino was raised in Cameroon, Africa); and his never-expiring passion for life and God makes his every object arrestingly beautiful.
Written by Vera Chernysheva
© Brenock Fine Art
Obi’s art is exuberant, his spirit is infectious and his courage and willingness to give to the universe is evident in every pallet knife gesture and brushstroke.