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A King’s Collection of Art



The Book cover

I am delighted to finally get my order of the recently published book A King’s Passion: A 21st

Century Patron of African Art. The book is on the art collection of a true Igbo king. The eulogies about His Royal Majesty Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe will need the writing of many other books. Long story short- it will derail my thoughts about this heavy coffee table book.

I wrote a story about one of our meetings when the king paused a council meeting to see my paintings. That was one special moment in my life- seeing this true Igbo king and his council members coming out to see Art. The story of that meeting is included in the book The Kingly Passion. That story is on page 151, besides a cropped image of my painting on page 150. My biography is on page 500 with photographs of some of my paintings from pages 501- 504.


Page 150-151 with my essay on Meeting the King

Page 502-503 with my paintings

This and so many other meetings keep me committed to the service of art as an essential tool in storytelling, cultural exchanges, communicating histories, and challenging notions of a one-sided egotistic narrative about the world. My art is autobiographical- it is a window to my soul. Through my work, you get to know my point of view. These 4 words can explain my paintings- We don’t stand alone.

Anyone interested in Art from Igboland or works from Nsukka should get this book for a fantastic introduction. Igwe Achebe’s extensive collecting included works from other African nations. His interests stayed centered on the true nature of royalty- the promotion and preservation of culture- his as heir, custodian, and an African king, and the culture. The collection is the fulfillment of a divine mandate, a true celebration. I made the painting the kingly harvest as a tribute to my king. The painting made in the season of last year’s Ofala festival reenacted all the exuberance of the yearly event that sees the king entertaining his people, celebrating, and thanking God for another great harvest. Being a crown prince, I see a mentor whose stories will be told to future generations. I see the path that I should follow. I won’t wait till I am crowned king. I will live my truth now and celebrate the culture and traditions that stand us out as a people at any chance I get. I will continue the masquerade dances and scatter colors of dashing joy in the village square.

I am grateful to Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, an art curator who organized my very successful joint exhibition with Ibe Ananaba. She is a strong promoter of the arts in Nigeria. We have a wonderful relationship as she introduces my work to new audiences, particularly at a time when I wasn’t getting much traction with Nigerian art galleries. Also, thanks to the King, who became my father and a dear friend (historically, his kingdom Onitsha and my Oguta migrated out of the ancient Bini kingdom at about the same time) The king was strong support in the middle years of my development as an artist, buying so many of my paintings at any opportunity and meeting we had on my journeys from Lagos to my village studio in Oguta that he once jokingly said that visitors to his palace have taken notice of all the Anthony NSOFORS in the room!


Page 504-505

The King’s Passion has essays by some great Igbo writers and art historians including Chika Okeke-Agulu and Chuu Krydz Ikwuemesi. These two writers stand at polar positions and their writings work beautifully for me. Other contributors to the book include Hannah O’Leary, Sly Ogbechie, etc. The scholarly place of this book is secured. It is a document for referencing and gaining insight into Igbo, Nigerian, and African art! The book contains over 300 masterpieces, with works by Ben Enwonwu, El Anatsui, Obiora Udechukwu, and Ndidi Dike. This king’s greatest offering to the world is put in a book that is only $79 on Amazon. The hefty volume documents some of the works that are in the Chimedie Museum, built by Igwe Achebe to house his enormous collection. This prequel to the opening of the Chimedie Museum gives us a small but inviting glimpse into the collection built over so many decades. The museum is in Onitsha, in Southern Nigeria. The king traveled all over the world out of curiosity to see what other museums looked like before creating this gem for his people. May his reign outshine all other preceding kings of Onitsha. Agbogidi’s stories become songs for generations unborn. I have seen a King and shined under his splendor. The book King’s Passion is so much more than just words in a book- it is the greatest Ofala of an Onitsha King.

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