Joval Umoru - Black visual artist

Joval Oshone-Umoru, b. 1995 (Nigeria)

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Joval’s Biography

Joval Oshone-Umoru is a largely self-taught Fine Artist from Edo state Nigeria who started drawing at the early age of 4. After forgoing her dream of becoming a lawyer to pursue a career in Art, she obtained a National Diploma in General Art at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria in 2019. She took up a full-time studio practice in the year 2020 and has ever since been involved in a strict personal artistic career development.

Joval works in many artistic media otherwise known as Mixed Media but has a bias for dry media, especially charcoal medium because of its versatility and the various textures it can create. Fusing Realism and Expressionism and a combination of traditional art techniques, Joval creates figurative drawings of women against a colourful abstractive background with emphasis on their emotions and expressions. She devotes much time in her studio to experimenting with several techniques and styles that can best improve her practice and tell her stories.

Joval’s works are inspired by her personal journey through life from being single to married, motherhood and reoccurring experiences of other women before and around her, the major theme of her works centre on the unrealistic expectations society has for women whether single or married here in Africa, especially in Nigeria where she is from, and the mental health issues that follow, using poetic and metaphorical languages to tell her stories.

Her works have been exhibited physically and virtually, both at home in Nigeria where she lives and abroad and have also been acquired by collectors, gallery owners and art lovers in general.

Artist Statement

In most parts of Africa, including Nigeria, tradition expects that at a certain age, women are not supposed to be single. Singleness is superstitiously blamed on spiritual forces and the thought of this leads to depression, episodes of anxiety, paranoia and avoidable mistakes.

Women now see marriage and the need to bear children before a certain age as a social achievement and conforming to the pressure, rush into it, usually with disastrous consequences. They jump into the wrong hands and families.
The expectations don’t end at being single, even when “safely” married, more expectations, demands, and standards follow, many of them unreasonable. These demands and expectations could be from in-laws, one’s own family/close friends, a random stranger and the age-old toxic traditional practices or advice that are repeatedly told on dowry payment days. They tell you things from how to behave, the duties you owe, to practically how to live in your own home! Those who consider themselves “experienced in marriage” interfere with yours.

The undue influence sometimes triggers domestic violence where one spouse begins to attempt to enforce the standards created by the “experienced ones” on the other spouse. When one spouse, typically the woman, is subject to constant physical violence from the husband, the same tradition and society expect her to simply live with it because that is how it has always been. The victim (the woman in this case) subconsciously accepts the status quo and inadvertently passes it on along with its encumbering consequences.

My body of works among other themes majorly touches on these issues, using metaphors and poetic language to express them. In the society I live in, no one is willing to talk about issues like these. Most people would rather avoid the subject, maybe because of the fear of offending family or the already existing tradition which they live by.

I hope to use my works to celebrate love, peace, freedom, romance, resilience, and nuclear family values. I also wish to educate and reorient the minds of those who have been caught up in the web of this societal toxicity. I dare to dream of a continent where vulnerable women are free from undue pressure and control by the existing tradition and to bring much-needed support and healing to those already impacted by it through art and storytelling.

Past and Current Exhibitions:
– Affordable ArtFair (showcasing artworks in various mediums by 32 Artists)
Organised by MyDrim Gallery, Ikoyi Lagos Nigeria. November 30th – December 15th 2019.

– ‘In Spring’ (celebrating women in art Virtual exhibition) Curated by Maria Ilochi of MUI The Gallery. March 1st – 31st 2022

– Anonymous Drawing Exhibition Berlin Germany. Curated by Anke Becker at the Galerie IM Köernerpark, Berlin. June 18th – August 24th 2022

Works for Sale

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