Michelle Okpare, from Nigeria (b.1996) raised between Nigeria and Ivory Coast.
She received a B.A in Fine Arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.
Okpare draws inspiration from her personal experiences with people and, how one responds psychologically to happenings. Her works are a documentation of life, complexity, and emotions exploring culture, mental health, personal and societal identity, and issues surrounding gender in African contemporary society.
Okpare is an expressionist artist working predominantly using materials attached to her childhood experience in Ivory Coast to create richly textured and colorful works. Her practice is a combination of imagination and reality which aims to build cogent visual imagery which encompasses the contemporary African women experiences.
She uses crepe paper, acrylic paint, and recycled/discarded lace fabrics appliqué to create highly stylized scenes that unpack the unrealistic beauty standards placed on women. The crepe paper is folded into floral, or petal motifs inspired by her upbringing in Ivory Coast where she first experimented with these materials. She draws from her strife to create these works and uses her practice as a form of therapy.
Okpare has participated in several exhibitions around the world including “L’Africa & Napoli”, Maschio Angioino, Italia, 2023, “Reversed Safari”, The Manege Central Exhibition Hall, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2023, Real Life Is Fragile, USA, 2021, Unusual Suspects, Nigeria, 2021, The human experience, South Africa, 2020, etc. Her works have been featured on Sunday Times South Africa, Vanity Fair Italia, Shoutout Los Angeles, Times Live South Africa, and Airmail News USA. She was documented on Google Arts and Culture.
She was also awarded at the Online Art Project Turkey and The University of Florida Art in Medicine project in Nigeria. Okpare currently lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.