Who I am

My name is Chinwe Cynthia Uwatse, born Chinwe Cynthia Ntephe on January 31, 1960 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Nigeria.

I studied Fine Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in painting, which I graduated with honours. I was the only woman in my class. I subsequently obtained a Master of Business Administration degree. A contemporary woman.

My central objective, as an artist, is using my paintings to assist the preservation of the female ethos in uli design forms. Uli is, of course, the indigenous body art calligraphy of the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria.

I also write prose and poetry. I have had several of my essays on contemporary Nigerian art as well as the place of traditional art in modern Nigeria, published in the Guardian newspapers.

As I’m Seen

“Chinwe Uwatse, a globally recognized artist with a second studio in Cannes, France, creates watercolors and ink drawings which have a light, almost translucent quality, rich in symbol and layered in soft hues and meaning. She is best known for focusing on the female ethos with a unique style that draws on the asymmetrical, two dimensional culture of traditional Igbo female body adornment called uli. She uses uli inspired colors, patterns and symbols to comment on the pressures and joys of universal womanhood.

She first became fascinated by the intricate uli tattoos on women and symbols on traditional architecture as a child during the Nigerian civil war. This fascination was later enhanced while studying art at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, under the mentorship of Professors Uche Okeke and Obiora Udechukwu who brought the Uli Art movement into global focus. Today her rich, ephemeral works and poetry touch on themes such as fertility, beauty, affirmation and wonder.” Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, art curator and collector, Temple Muse, Lagos

My Work

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