Fine artist and graphic artist Ife Ni- Owoo, owner of Studio 3, collaborated with other accomplished professionals in the art world on the third annual Open Studio Spring Celebration. The event was held at the Greene Street Artists Cooperative in the city’s Germantown neighborhood.
I had the pleasure of meeting Ife during my tenure as director of public relations for The Pennsylvania Convention Center. I was most impressed by her creativity, talent and enthusiasm for the projects we collaborated on for the center.
Ife knew she was destined to be an artist from the time she could hold a pencil. She started painting at the age of three when she attended art classes with her mother, who was an art student at Morgan State University. She received numerous awards throughout her early education and won scholarships to attend Saturday classes at Tyler School of Art, the Philadelphia Collage of Art and Moore College of Art, in Philadelphia.
However, it was her high school art teacher who introduced her to printmaking. Ife won a full scholarship to The School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University (NY) where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in printmaking. Following her graduation in 1973, she moved to London, England and attended the London Printing School (now the London School of Communications). There, she studied graphic design, printmaking, typography and animation, and received a postgraduate certificate in design studies.
In 1976, Ife married Ghanaian filmmaker Kwate Nii Owoo and moved to Ghana, West Africa. She studied African Visual Arts at the Institute of African Studies, while becoming the mother of two sons. In 1981, she returned to the U.S. after living abroad for 9 years Ife's illustrations and designs are seen on numerous jackets of books of the Afrocentric literary movement of the 1990s. In 1992 she wrote, and illustrated a children's book entitled "A is for Africa: looking at Africa through the Alphabet" Working primary as a graphic artist, until 2007, when she received a Leeway Grant, which allowed her to create a new body of fine art collages, and paintings and a solo show to launch her back into a fine art career.
In 2010, Ife was commissioned to work on the The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation, Commemorative Site, Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Pa. Her concept and graphic treatment of the slave memorial space is part of the total commemorative site.
A self-proclaimed visual storyteller, Ife explores color, texture and pattern to speak to the world. Presently, she is working outside of the traditional canvas—creating fans, shaped collages and mixed media assemblages. It is her cross-cultural experiences and relationships that continue to impact her vision and her work. She loves to explore the meaning and symbols behind culture and heritages that are important to people.
“In many of my pieces I am using objects and, images I've collected or created over the years. My work is a reflection of what I have learned about myself and my rescuer nature, thus I have channeled that part of my nature into my work. It has been an interesting journey, seeing what shows up and what is salvageable.”
Trapeta B. Mayson presented a delightful poetry workshop, reading and book signing. Talented jazz guitarist and composer Monnette Sudler enhanced the afternoon’s ambience.
Some of the notable members of the art community attending and/ or participating in the event included Barbara Bullock, Linda Berger, Jonathan Eckel, Patrick Egan and Louis Tanner Moore and his wife Judy.
Art enriches our lives in so many ways. We wear it, see it in nature’s landscape and even dine on artistically presented meals.
For more information about Ife Nii-Owoo’s work at Studio 3, visit on-line at www.ifestudio3.com.
Have a fantastic week everyone! I look forward to seeing you “Out & About.”