Matthew Eguavoen Nigeria, b. 1988

Matthew Eguavoen (born 1988), is a rising contemporary artist from Edo State, currently living in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. He attended the University of Port Harcourt , where he attained a Bachelors in Engineering for Civil Engineering and Structures. In his final year at the university of Port Harcourt, Matthew decided to pursue his passion for creating art through self-study, where he continued his artistic development.

Matthew is a full-time contemporary painter, he depicts his figurative and portrait subjects using a combination of oil paint, acrylic paint, charcoal, and graphite pencils to document stories that encompass the emotions and demeanor of his muse to the viewer of his work.

Matthew uses his work to address the societal, economic, and political views across the complex intersectionality that Nigerians face in different facets of life. The constraint of societal ideology about life, on human existence and survival.

His work addresses the impact of Slavery on the Africa and its people, the extinction of African traditional values and the growing sensation of religion in Africa, importation of western moral and cultural values to Africa and exiling Africa’s own cultural values as a people, with Africans abandoning Africa for relative greener pastures in western countries.

Matthews works are featured in collections across West Africa, USA, Europe, and North America.


Artist statement

"As an artist I am deeply concerned about the impact of my work on my immediate environment and the world at large and that is why themes of my art centers around the societal, political and economic imbalance taking over humanity happiness, swamping over the essence of society.

I am fascinated by people’s reaction to their immediate environment, and how it affects their demeanor and in turn affects their reaction to life. That is what I find really interesting. I see people trying to re-write their past, I see violence, I see the effect of corruption and slavery on the lives of nations citizens, I see people trying to find a way to have fun and survive.

From my work you can notice a strong striking focus from each of my models, this bold unwavering stare is my way of using my works to project identity formation, mental health, gender construct, societies and government’s impact on both the common man and the affluent. I have a need for facial representation and I am fascinated by its power to evoke an emotional response from my viewers.

If you look at my work from a distance, it looks realistic but when you come close you start to notice my brush strokes, the strokes are a representation of the subjects’ experience, and how they are affected by it.

I want people to see the good and the bad times I see. I want to make the unseen other-self tangible, to feel a connection to something larger and feel the magic of transformation, in so doing, inviting my viewers to look in. I appreciate mystery in a painting; uncertainty about what you are seeing is desirable for me, why and how the subject(s) has been affected."