Welcome to the aromatic world of Nigerian visual artist, Ekene Ngige, who has a unique story of serendipity that lead him down a stirring path of creativity.
Once upon a time in a cafe in Lagos, Nigeria, Ngige was meeting with some acquaintances when a single moment of clumsiness changed the trajectory of his career as an artist.
Ngige’s cappuccino fell accidentally, splashing all over his notepad. As he was about to clean up the spill he noticed how the coffee made wonderfully textured patterns on the paper and thought to himself, “what if he used coffee to create art?”
“It was supposed to be a mistake, but I loved the mistake — and I didn’t want to wipe it off,” said Ngige. “I loved the color. I loved the texture.”
Back in the studio, Ngige began experimenting with creating his coffee paint mixture. His process begins with a pencil sketch and then follows different layers of coffee in various tones and in some cases he makes use of whole beans to achieve a deeply textured result.
Seven years later, coffee is still his go-to medium.
Since a childhood he was interested in art and this passion led him to study fine art at Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, where he focused on painting with watercolor, acrylic, and oils.
“My paintings are inspired by things that happen around me, events that happen around my society, the world at large,” he said, and it depends on “what the event is at that moment, or sometimes being inspired by my emotions.”
His art shares messages of hope and peace that ignite people’s hearts. His focus is encouraging people to forget about their differences and be more accepting of each other so that we can embrace serenity. In his portrait series, titled “Peace Makers,” Ngige features iconic figures such as Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai and former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela.
“The world at large has been suffering from terrorism, racism and tribalism,” Ngige stated. “I’ve been painting pictures that will reach people and touch their hearts.”
“The best part of creating art is being able to reach the whole world,” he mentioned in an interview . “I have had calls and messages from all around the world, from people that have been touched by the topics of the paintings I make …it makes me feel like I am fulfilling a purpose.” he added.
Ngige has really pushed the boundaries of creativity with this household beverage and left us all frothing at the mouth of what he will create next. Whether you drink coffee or tea, who knows what creative ideas may be waiting just a few spills away.