|Your Personal Biography
||The Biography of
Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem
(International Artist from Nigeria)
A versatile and prolific multi-awards winning international artist, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem, was born on December 8, 1957. He hails from Uburu-Ekwe Autonomous Community in Isu Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria, Africa. His parents are the late Mr. Chukwukere Christopher Emerem (a trained carpenter and a talented traditional healer) and the late Mrs. Esther Edoroagbo Emerem (a trained fashion designer). The third child out of the eight children born by his mother to his father in the following order: Pastor David C. D. Emerem, Mrs. Edna A. Ndionu (Nee Emerem), Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem (The Artist), Sir Samuel N. Emerem, Mr. Moses U. Emerem, Mr. Eze F. Emerem, Mrs. Happiness N. Nwauwa (Nee Emerem) and Mr. Timothy I. Emerem. Even at a very tender age, his father, a polygamist with two other wives and many other children, noticed something unique in Sir Mbonu C. Emerem. This led the father to wonder sometimes aloud: “Who knows what Mbonu will be?
The “Old Man” was right because Sir Mbonu C. Emerem, as a Nigerian Professional artist, now has to his credit more than five thousand original artworks in various styles and media plus more than sixty didactic art-works posters plus over a hundred different designs of Limited Edition Prints, which have been mass-produced by popular demands.
However, the intricate worlds of Sir Mbonu C. Emerem and his talent started manifesting from the time he was able to write. Then he used to put down all sorts of things that he could find within his immediate environment into drawing. He did little elementary art up to primary four in his primary school days at Community Primary School, Uburuekwe. Throughout this period, he tried his hands in all traditional arts in the form of paintings, drawings and sculpting as well as other handicraft. At the age of twelve, his thanksgiving offering at his church was an untitled drawing depicting Mary carrying baby Jesus Christ with Joseph standing by. Soon after, he was commissioned to carve the Logos for the Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Guide of the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church Uburuekwe. Also, people called him to make some mural paintings and drawings in their private houses. But his major handicap was the near absence of recognition and value attached to the role of an artist and art itself in Nigeria until recently.
Moreover, Sir Mbonu Emerem’s experience of the thirty months of Nigerian/Biafran Civil War, 1967-1969, coupled with the pre-mature death of his mother in 1973 laded him with very pensive memories. The impacts of these events are noticeable in some of his works because they were his first turnings-points in life.
The same year in 1973 when his mother died, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem gained admission into Umuaka High School (formally St. Saviour’s College), Umuaka, Njaba South L. G. A; Imo State, Nigeria, where Fine Art was not part of the curriculum of this Secondary Grammar School. This new environment stifled and kept his talent latent the more.
After one year in this school, his senior brother, Pastor David C. D. Emerem, who was then a Microbiology Undergraduate at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria, wanted Sir Mbonu C. Emerem transferred to a technical school because of the latter’s (Sir Mbonu Emerem’s) creative ability. This proposal, however, was shelved because of the cost of losing one academic year as a pre-condition for the transfer. While in Umuaka High School, (former St. Saviours’), Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem was not an academic pushover. He had a general love for all the subjects being offered by the school with a bias for science subjects and eyes on the medical or engineering profession. But he observed that he was not getting the desired creative freedom and satisfaction from these science subjects. So he dropped the ideas and switched over to the Social Sciences with a view to becoming a social scientist.
For two consecutive years (1975 and 1976), the West African School Certificate Examination results for his seniors in the school were cancelled due to widespread malpractices. For fear of suffering the same fate he had to change school on the advice of his brothers and parents to Doherty Memorial Grammar School, Ijero-Ekite State (in former Ondo State), Nigeria, in his final year in 1977. Because of his general performance in this new school, even before the School Certificate results were released, Sir Mbonu Emerem was employed by the school as a Laboratory Attendant. When the results were later released in 1978, he was withdrawn from the
Laboratory and employed as a teaching staff. He taught Mathematics and Government for one academic year
while at the same time studying by private tuition for the Advanced Level Certificate in Economics, Government and Religious Knowledge. Notwithstanding the pursuit for A-Levels, he offered the three subjects in the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination in 1979 and secured admission into University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in the Faculty of Social Sciences to study Economics. In 1983, he obtained an honours degree in Economics in regular time of four years with specialization in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics.
As an undergraduate, he was also doubling as a photographer on campus. His interest in photography was kindled and kept alive by the knowledge he acquired from the study of Physics and other materials. He still engages in photography and takes pictures of his paintings by himself in his studio. Throughout his stay in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, he had no contact with the Fine and Applied Arts Department and had no artist friend. Sir Mbonu C. Emerem is purely self-taught. He neither attended a formal art school nor had any formal training in art.
His talent was unveiled by the time he was a lecturer at Katsina Polytechnic, then in Kaduna State, in 1983/84 academic session during his one-year post-graduation National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He taught Quantitative Economics, Business Mathematics, Company Law and Business Law. At that time, he was practicing art on part-time basis during his leisure time.
The transitional period and course from Sir Mbonu C. Emerem’s academic profession, Economics, to his natural calling, Art, were not so smooth and rosy. When his art talent came to the limelight in 1984, the entire family of the then Kaduna State Chief-Inspector of NYSC, Alhaji Suleiman Isah Mai’adua from Daura in the now Katsina State, then embraced the natural gift from the artist and was able to house and gave him all the necessary supports in his residence in Kaduna town and Daura.
A lot of revelations were made directly to him, temptations came from here and there, and he had series of visions telling him to stop wasting his time in areas that he was not called for. Sir Mbonu Emerem had become a clairvoyant. With nine years as a clairvoyant, he still had no inkling of his true calling. He had to die in order to realize his vocation. Since then, he has been making art seriously.
After Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem finished his National Youth Service Corp Programme with the Katsina Polytechnic, Katsina State, (then in Kaduna State) , he moved down to Kaduna the capital of Kaduna State. He hired a shop and stayed in Angwarimi town for one year before he relocated to Aba, Abia State where he is using as his base.
Back in his home state, Imo State in 1984, he was well received by the then Military Governor, Gen. Ike Nwachukwu for the National Award: ''The Best Corper Artist Award'' he received from the then Nigerian Military Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Mohamadu Buhari and the state award from the then Kaduna State Military Governor, Air-Vice Marshall Usuman Mu’azu.
Later in his home town, Uburuekwe, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was also warmly received and honoured by the Traditional Ruler of Uburuekwe Autonomous Community, His Royal Highness, Eze Nicolas N. Ibekwe (The Uburu 1 of Uburuekwe ) and the Eze’s Cabinet on behalf of and in the presence of the entire community. The entire Emerem’s family members and well-wishers celebrated and went for a thanksgiving service in honour of their illustrious son.
After all these reception ceremonies, his father, the late Mr. Chukwukere Christoper Emerem was still worried and inquisitive because he could not understand why his son, being the first economist ever produced by his community and the surrounding towns, will not practice the Economics he read in the university. To get solid base and more insight into what he was contesting for about his son, his father, first and foremost, cornered Sir Samuel N. Emerem, the immediate junior to the artist and whom Sir Mbonu Emerem was then putting up with him together with Mr. Moses U. Emerem, Mr. Emmanuel U. Emerem and Mr. Stephen C. Chukwukere. He also called and bared his mind to Mr. Eze F. Emerem who is living in Lagos State about the issue that was worrying him and asked him to be around for the family meeting to make sure that nobody will ever blame him in the future. This inquisition made his father to call his brothers, the late Chief Aaron Emerem, and Ezinna Josiah U. Emerem to hear their opinions. Also, his father went and lodged the same complaint to brother in-law, that is, Sir Mbonu Emerem's maternal uncle, Nze Ihezue Onwudiwe. He alerted his friend, the late Chief Igboasoanya Ohaebosim, who took great personal interests in Sir Mbonu Emerem right from childhood. They organized and called for the family meeting and prayers where the family elders, his father and his uncles, asked Pastor David C. D. Emerem, then as MBA holder and Banker working with United Bank for Africa, UBA, Lagos, Mr. Onuoha J. Emerem, then MBA holder who just came back from United States after his studies, Mr. Ndubueze C. Emerem, Undergraduate with University of Lagos, Mr. Daniel U. Emerem, then Accountant with the Federal Pay Office, Owerri, Imo State, Mr. George E. Emerem and Chief Sunday Emerem to explain to the family what art portends and entails as well as what art as a profession will bring to their son and the family. That they did perfectly to his father’s satisfaction. Attorney Wilfred Nwauwa of the Law Offices of U. Wilfred Nwauwa, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, with his entire family, gave their full supports and in-depth explanations of what are obtainable in the contemporary art world in developed countries.
It was at this juncture that Mbonu’s father remembered and recollected what happened 10 years ago in 1974/75 academic session, when his first son, Pastor David C. D. Emerem, who was then a Micro-Biology undergraduate of the University of Lagos, saw early in the life of the budding talent in his younger brother, Mbonu Christopher Emerem, after Mbonu had finished one academic session in the secondary grammar school, that was in Umuaka High School (formerly St. Saviours College), where Fine Arts was not part of the school’s academic curriculum. Having known the implications, Pastor David Emerem then suggested and insisted that his brother should change school to Awka Trade Centre, then in Anamdra State, Nigeria, where technical subjects were being offered. But this noble idea was not accepted by his father since the precondition for such a transfer was that Mbonu Emerem will forfeit one academic year i.e. he should start from class one instead of class two. More so, Mbonu’s father considered that the financial aspect was not favourable for him as a father and sponsor since he was the only breadwinner for the family in those horrible days after the end of the Nigerian/Biafrian Civil War.
After all those explanations were well taken be the artist’s father and he gave him his full backing, blessings and prayers.
He started his art career in mid eighties with the Emerem’s family business name: Superlative Services Limited. Later on, also along with his brothers and the family of a family friend: Mr. Sylvanus Adadi, from Uruala, in Ideato L.G.A, Imo State. They incorporated a company called- Superlative Arts Industries Limited, for the marketing of Sir Mbonu C. Emerem’s paintings.
As an artist and a man, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem, is a naturally talented, versatile and prolific artistic genius. His wonderful and incredible life and works are fascinating. His astounding career as an artist of rare power is evident in his dutiful efforts to separate facts from legend which is, not only a serious study of himself, but also a reflection of some unusual events and experiences in his life. His paintings are stunning and imposingly sacrosanct. Some of the works are saturated with themes that emphasize his suffering as a struggling artist. His paintings have depth and inner charm. He uses connotative images to show hidden force and his works are superb and uncanny. That is where the attractiveness of his paintings lies. He expresses his feelings in his paintings so that his paintings have a strong attraction for the people. He pours out his heart through what he paints. He is noted greatly for his sure hand, authoritativeness and adroitness in execution. He, also, has commendable peculiarities of detailed works, strikingly unusual combination of colors, materials, styles and techniques. His imaginative powers give his work freshness, vitality and evocation. He works freely with every medium and particularly Oil, Acrylic, Watercolour, Collage, Mixed Media, Pencil, Pen and Ink. Sir Mbonu C. Emerem is also an accomplished sculptor. He uses cement or clay. He works himself into a certain state before he begins his works. Usually, he reaches this state through prolonged prayer and self-denial. These help to elevate and isolate him from all worldly things in his special vision of the world and spirituality, which he hands down to the present and future generations. He has escaped death by vehicle accident a number of times. In each case, an unseen force saved him.
On his approach to art, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem always follows his own convictions. He doesn't want to be a slave but his own master. He feels strongly that simply carrying on the old conventions is not enough. He takes them into account, but also seeks inspiration from the life around him in order to make the traditions serve modern times. As life brings to him its fresh meanings he finds it extremely difficult to hesitate reflecting on them. All in all, he is either stimulated by his personal experiences of life or by surrounding, touching, mind-purifying or life-consoling experiences to which he could not be insensitive. The quality of a painting reveals the inner feeling of the painter and expresses the unyielding character of the artist himself. Moreover, a picture should give one the feeling of being inside and a part of the natural world so depicted. Hence, some of his works are a synthesis of what he felt in the presence of nature and his own vision of the ordinary life around him.
Philosophically, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem is of the view that he who understands art understands nature; he who understands nature understands humanity; and he who understands humanity is always ready to serve nature and humanity.
No wonder he partially abandoned his academic profession to his natural calling. On answering questions on why he decided against his academic profession, he said that he did not abandon it but rather applies the academic knowledge in the administration of his business as an entity. He also said that he wants to use his art to rouse the conscience of mankind.
In 1984, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem’s talent and works attracted the attention of the Nigerian government and the general public.
In 1984, he was selected as the “Best Corper Artist” in Kaduna State to represent the State in a group national arts exhibition marking the 1983/84 Head of State N.Y.S.C. Honours Award Ceremony held at the National Arts Theater, Iganmu, Lagos, Nigeria. Among the nineteen (19) participating artists (each artist representing the then 19-State structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was also adjudged the “Best Corper Artist” at the federal level. The National Directorate of the N.Y.S.C then bought the paintings on behalf of the Federal Government – the two portraits of the then Head of State, Major-General Mohammadu Buhari and that of the Director of NYSC, Col. Edet Akpan. He was personally requested to make the presentation of the painting to the Nigerian Head of State himself. It was ovation galore as the Head of Sate unveiled his own portrait during the ceremony.
The following year, 1985, the then Governor of Sir Mbonu C. Emerem’s home state, Imo State, Maj-General Ike O. S. Nwachukwu invited him for an press interview concerning his career. During the interview, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem made a state presentation of the Governor’s portrait to him. After this interview at Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, Imo State capital, Sir Mbonu Emerem moved down from Kaduna State to Aba, Abia State, Nigeria, to set up art as his full-time profession.
Some of the commissioned jobs made by him include:
1. The self-portrait of Sir Dr. Peter Odili, The Civilian Governor of Rivers State, Nigeria. Commissioned by Egbema Ethnic Nationality, Rivers State. 2003
2. The life-size and the bust statues respectively of the late Igwe of Ichida, H.R.H. Igwe Patrick Okolo (Ochiagha 1 of Ichida) in Anambra State 1995.
3. The Portrait of Sir (Chief) Professor Iheanyi. C. Achumba, Head of Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Business Administration, University of Lagos, Nigeria.
4. The group Portraits of H.R.H. & Lolo Emmanuel O. Anyakudo, (Ezearo II of Ekwe), Ishi-Isu L. G. A., Imo State.
5.The Chieftaincy Installation Life Portraits (7.25 x 4.25ft) of Chief and Lolo Imaga, Chief Inspector of Merchant Bank of Africa (Nig.) Ltd. 1993.
6. A mural painting entitled, “Our Journey on Earth” (14 x 16ft) inside the apse of the Owerriebeiri Roman Catholic Parish Headquarters, Orlu, Imo State. 1989.
7. The Portrait of the then Nigerian Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, Major-General Tunde Idiagbon. 1984.
8. The Portrait of the then Governor of Kaduna State, Air-Commodore Usman Mu’azu in 1984.
9. The Portrait of the then Governor of Niger State, Lt. Colonel David Mark in 1984.
10. The Portrait of the Emir of Kastina, Alhaji Kabir Usman in1984.
11. The Portrait of the then Director of N.Y.S.C., Colonel Edet Akpan in 1984.
12. The Portrait of the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto located at Sardauna Memorial Secondary School, Kaduna State in 1984.
With his base at Aba, and his younger brother’s, Sir Samuel Nnamdi Emerem’s flat as a temporary studio and financial and material supports then, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem began serious works, drawing and painting, in 1985. With the full support of his entire Emerem’s family in Uburu-Ekwe, in Isu LGA, Imo State, Nigeria, he continued to work on his own.
For quite some time he has concentrated on mass-production and sale of his printed works (Posters and Greeting Cards), commissioned jobs and general business. Also as a printer, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem supervises all the processes of reproducing his works to achieve uniformity and consistency, from filming through color separation to printing.
Unfortunately, he paid little attention to exhibitions. He has, also, stayed somewhat away from Nigerian galleries, collectors and museums. But now as an established African Cultural Ambassador, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem is a world-class painter with track records of monumental contributions in plastic/ visual arts. The news, documentaries, press reviews, publications, interviews, international reports and comments about the untrammeled power and beauty of Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem’s works, following his national and international exhibitions, have made him and his works a must watch.
In 1987, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem participated in the 9th Kaduna International Trade Fair organized by the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Kaduna State, Nigeria.
In October 1992, he signed a contract with the Campanella Gallery of Park College, Parkville, Missouri, U.S.A., for the exhibition of his paintings. In the months of November and December 1993, a successful six-week international solo-exhibition of Sir Mbonu C. Emerem’s works, entitled, “Regeneration of Society”, was held at Campanella Gallery of Park College, Parkville, Missouri, U.S.A. Park College was established in 1875 and this art exhibition was the first international art exhibition to be held at the College after a period of 118 years of its inception. The President of Park College, Professor Donald J. Breckon in his letter to U.S.A. Embassy, Lagos, Nigeria, on behalf of Sir Mbonu C. Emerem, described the art exhibition as:
“a very important cultural exchange, which needed a lot of publicity and planning.”
Also, in Prof. Breckon’s press interview concerning the international arts exhibition of Sir Mbonu C. Emerem, he remarked in the art exhibition review published in the Park College Newspaper – ParkStylus:
“Mbonu C. Emerem’s arts are abstract yet contain the obvious distinctions of his African culture.”
In the words of the Director of Campanella Gallery and Chair, Department of Art, Park College, Parkville, Missouri, U.S.A., Professor Donna Bachmann:
“Sir Mbonu C. Emerem’s works are quite wonderful and fascinating and his exhibition formed a handsome installation. His works contain a number of different styles: geometric abstraction, narrative/figurative, and collaged abstraction. His works are imbued with unusual combination of western and African motifs and techniques.”
This exhibition was published in more than eighty (80) American News Media: Radio, Cable TV, Cultural Calendars, Newspapers, etc.
In 1999, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was selected as a “Finalist”, in the international Emerging Artists Art Competition, held in Limner Gallery, New York City, USA.
In 2003, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abuja, Nigeria, granted Sir Mbonu C. Emerem the permission, after all the necessary inspections, to set up a private museum called: Mbonu-Emerem Museum of Art. The museum is now on the second floor of a three-story building at #39 Faulks Road, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria. The Museum is permitted to house only the works of art of Sir Mbonu C. Emerem. Website:
Also in November 2003, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem was granted a two-year multiple non-immigrant visa at the United States of America Embassy, Lagos, for his “Gallery Representation” and a three-week Collective Exhibition entitled: “Spontaneous Figurations” at Agora Gallery, 415 West Broadway, Soho/Chelsea, New York, U.S.A. His large-scale paintings: “Trapped in the Dance of Destiny,” “Left to Contemplate,” “Woman in Her Privacy,” Precarious Visions” and “Near Death Experience,” were among the exhibits on display.
Stuart Leslie Meyers’ arts’ review of the international artist from Nigerian, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem, in the United States of America’s international magazine: Gallery&Studio (The World of the Working Artist), New York, Vol. 6 No. 2; Nov.-Dec. 2003/Jan. 2004, entitled:
“Africa Rises in the Art of Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem,” remarked as follows:
“…In fact, contemporary African artists are making a vital contribution to world culture, as evidenced by the recent exhibition of the Nigerian painter, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem, at Agora Gallery, 415 West Broadway in Soho, New York City, USA.
Although he graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with a degree in Economics in 1983, Emerem soon abandoned that field of study to pursue his artistic calling. We can only be thankful that he did, given the untrammeled power and beauty of his work, with its muscular forms and vibrant colours working in concert to produce visionary compositions that pulse with life.
One of Emerem’s most striking paintings, in term of how it turns the tables on Picasso’s, take on the forms of African tribal art is the dynamic acrylic on canvas, “Trapped in the Dance of Destiny.” In this bold composition, two shapely ebony figures obviously derived from traditional African sculpture appear to be bound back-to-back by swirling forms that metamorphose into a swarm of smaller figures. The entire picture is filled with an energy that can be likened to the early semi-abstract works of Jackson Pollock, which were, in fact, greatly influenced by Picasso’s African borrowings. Emerem bring such influences back to their natural origins, while showing his own sophisticated awareness of European modernism in his treatment of abstract form and composition. The cultural cross-fertilization provides for a fascinating dialogue, the visual equivalent of the rhythmic and melodic merging in so-called World Music.
… Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem is not only an auspicious representative of the particular qualities that make African art unique, but a world-class painter whose work deserves to be better known by anyone concerned with the on-going evolution of post-modernism.”
Also, Agora Gallery, Chelsea/Soho, New York CIty, USA, in their Press Release in Agora Gallery’s websites: AgoraGallery.com and Art-mine.com, 2003 through 2006, concerning their Gallery Artist, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem, in their reviews which read in part:
“A resourceful and prolific Nigerian artist, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem paints with a deep consideration of man and his fate in the ever-changing world. A heightened sense of style and perspective allow his works to reveal an instinctual life force and universal thread that ties together humanity. With unusual aesthetic perception, the intense details of his painting dance with linear explosion and repetition. From the transitioning of shapes that become part of the structured environment, he paints towards representation of a global humanity …
A 1983 Economics graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem divorced his academic profession and answered a natural calling by painting works that depict people as both the catalysts and binders for all things. By focusing on the importance of relationships, especially those with a direct effect on modern civilization; he suggests metaphorically how people could better co-exist. Emerem’s works are a celebration of life coloured with diversity and harmony. The dramatic uniting of line, colour and other formal elements relate Emerem’s message with urgency. In most cases, his provocative, energetic and congruent images, colours and concepts are stripped to the unknown, leaving viewers with more questions than answers. Sir Mbonu C. Emerem’s exposing of the raw elements of existence executed with an inhibited line is a call to existential awareness for all who view his works…”
In February 2004, Sir Mbonu Emerem traveled to New York from where he made a one-month tour of the United States.
In May 2005, he traveled to USA for the three-week Collective Arts Exhibition entitled: “Emerging Forms,” which was held at Agora Gallery, Chelsea, New York, USA, as part of his Agora Gallery Representation package. His works, ”Colours in Healing Process #2,” “Emotions with Consummate Purity #2,” “Instincts Come Alive.”
In 2005, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem participated in a world-wide International Plastic Art Contest for the “Arad Biennale 2005”, where his two paintings: “Trapped in the Dance of Destiny,” and “Left to Contemplate,” were selected by the International Artistic Committee for the Arad Biennale 2005. Marius Lazurca PhD, the Director, Arad County Cultural Center and Local Coordinator of the Biennale sent a letter of invitation to him for the Biennale that started from May 20, 2005, and he was one of the participant international artists in the International Biennale of Contemporary Arts, Arad Biennale 2005, Arad, Romania. After the successful events, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was awarded an honour: “Diploma of Participation”, in the International Biennale of Contemporary Arts, “Arad Biennale 2005” There is a catalogue of all the events and the participant artists.
In August 2006, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem was selected as a “Finalist” and as one of the 435 international participant Artists classified by the Admission Jury as “Distinguished Artists” in the first edition of the International Itinerant Arts Exhibition entitled: “International Exhibition of Digital Arts,” (M.I.A.D)., Venado Tuerto 2006, Argentina.
In 2007, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem was selected in Argentina as a result of his success in the international art exhibition in that country, as one of the “International Group of Artists” that will be exhibiting at the Museum of the Americas, Miami, Florida, U. S. A., in 2008.
Also in 2007, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem was selected by the Jury of absolutearts.com to be an “absolutearts.com Premiere Portfolio Artist.” This is a one year representation starting from July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008, by a World Wide Arts Resources/ absolutearts.com, Granville, Ohio, USA, remarked in part as follows:
“You have been selected to be an absolutearts.com Premiere Portfolio Artist. Welcome to the best group of artists on the web!…
Our jury had an excellent, large and very diverse field of artists from around the world to review and accepted 100 to become Premiere Portfolio Artists. The works submitted were very diverse in media, theme and style. The jury was impressed by the professional quality of both the art and the manner in which you represented yourselves. We are excited to welcome you as part of this elite group….”
Again, in 2007, Sir Mbonu C Emerem was one of ‘’The Contributors: The 2007 Almanac of Political Art,” following an open call for A4 contributions to the first Almanac of Political Art, where over 80 people responded from all over the world with images, statements, drawings and projects. During a live editing day on 30 June 2007 at the Austrian Cultural Forum, London, United Kingdom, Sophie Hope, three guest editors (Leigh French, Adam Jeanes and Simona Nastac), a production team (Valentina Gottardi, Ann Harezlak and Lucy Parker) and a live participating audience discussed the contributions and compiled as many copies of the Almanac as they could on the day.
In 2008, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was awarded a Diploma of Ventipertrenta 2007:
“Quarto Classificato Giuria Internationale”, Festival Internationale di Arte Digitale, after his participation in Ventipertrenta: International Exhibition of Digital Arts, (id)art-fest 2008, in which he came FOURTH (4th) in the International Jury selection. The art exhibition was organized by Terra dell’ Arte (International Cultural Association), in Belforte del Chienti, Italy.
Also In 2008, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem participated in group art exhibition named ‘’MIDAC Digitale 2008’’ from 4th to 27th April, 2008, in the International Dynamic Contemporary Arts Museum, (MIDAC Museum) in the former Church of Saint Sabastiano, in Belforte del Chienti, Italy.
From September 5th to October 31s, 2008, digital arts in small format [20 x 30 cm], Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was one of the 30 digital artists selected from 11 countries:- Italy, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Spain, India, USA, Romania, Brazil, Nigeria and Costa Rica, to exhibit in the Ventipertrenta en Zacatecas 2008 exhibited in the National Fair Zacatecas VENTIPERTRENTA. In the Exhibition Room of the Zacatecas Cineteca, Cultural Center “Ciudadela del Arte” In Ventipertrenta presents the work of 30 digital artists. It presents for the first time in
Mexico, thanks to the invitation of the Government of the State of Zacatecas, through the Institute of Culture Zacatecanos, Ramón López Velarde. The artists were selected among all the participants in three previous
editions produced in Italy, including the winners from the international jury and awarded by the public, through surveys.
Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was one of the Participant Artists in a Collective Exhibition with the Curatory of Terra dell’Arte, Italy.
Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was one of the Participant Artists in the “International Festival of Digital Art “Ventipertrenta 2007.
In 2008, Sir Mbonu Emerem was selected for Biographical inclusion in Arts in their Biographical Reference Publications as one of the “500 Greatest Geniuses of the 21st Century” by J. M. Evans, the President, American Biographical Institute, ABI, Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Also, in 2008, due to Sir Mbonu C. Emerem’s extra-ordinary penchant for mental acuity, a Tribute:
“Most Notable Intellectual,” was enacted in his honour by the Governing Board of Editors of the American Biographical Institute, ABI, Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A., which in part reads thus:
“…Your biography has cemented this volume’s future role as a highly respected, authoritative reference guide to achievers with the highest mental aptitudes – impressive indeed.
As such, it is my pleasure to notify you that, due to your extra-ordinary penchant for mental acuity – and as evidenced by your substantial achievements as documented in 500 Greatest Geniuses – the Institute has enacted a tribute in your honour: “Most Notable Intellectual.” You were the inspiration for the accolade, and as such, you will be the first to receive it. “Most Notable Intellectual” is meant to pay homage to those, like you, who possess the rare combinations of intellectual superiority and ambition. As the first “Most Notable Intellectual”, you recognize that your considerable talents can only have a positive effects on the world if put to persistent use. I admire and respect your dedication to professional excellence.
Professional excellence that will be proudly featured within the pages of this volume upon publication. Remember, 500 Greatest Geniuses was conceived in memory of the many great thinkers – who were not only geniuses, but who were also incredibly innovative, imaginative and creative for their time. After compiling your biography, the Institute believes, more than ever, that you embody those same characteristics in the contemporary era. We feel proud to feature your biography prominently on the same platform as those before you. You have already made 500 Greatest Geniuses an excellent publication…”
In 2008, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem, was among the group of 24 International Artists that exhibited in the “International Artists Exhibition” in the Museum of the Americas, Doral, Miami, Florida, U.S.A. from July 11 – August 2, 2008.
In 2008, Sir Mbonu Emerem was awarded a Diploma: by the International Jury in the “International Digital Arts Festival”, Ventipertrenta 2008, held in Belforte del Chienti, Italy.
In 2008, “Participant Artist”, he was a Guest Artist in the International Show of Arts, Mar del Sur, Argentina.
2008 – “Participant Artist” in the “International Show of Arts, Mar del Sur,” District of General Alvarado, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2008, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem’s works were selected in the International Jury to be exhibited and to form part of the Permanent Collections of the International Dynamic Contemporary Art Museum (MIDAC) of Terra dell’ Arte, in Belforte dell Chiente, Italy.
In 2009, as a guest artist, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem’s work, “Left to Contemplate” won him an international award: “Mejor Artista Expositor,”( meaning in English: “Better Artist Exhibitor”), when it was selected by the Public Assistant voting and the Jury as one of the best 5 exhibited works in the International Show of Arts, Mar del Sur, Argentina. This award: “Mejor Artista Expositor,” earns him Prizes:
Participation WITHOUT COST in the
- 3rd edition International Show of Art, Mar del Sur, Argentina;
- 2nd edition MIAD Venado Tuerto; and
- 2nd edition MIAD Venado Tuerto in the Museum of the Americas, Doral, Miami, Florida, United States of America.
In 2010, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was selected by The Board of Directors of the Museum of the Americas, Doral, Miami, Florida, USA, to be their “Museum Representative in Nigeria and other African countries for Arts Exhibitions and Cultural Exchanges’’.
In the month of September, 2010. Sir Mbonu Emerem Organized and Coordinated a Group Arts Exhibition in the National Museum of Colonial History, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria, entitled: “Pushing Back the Frontiers of Creativity – Contemporary Artists from Nigeria” featuring 13 Nigerian artists of various natural and artistic callings in Paintings, Photography, Drawings, Digital Arts, mixed media, weaving(Hand Crafted Bags), etc.
Also, in the month of December, 2010. in collaboration with the Museum of the Americas, Doral, Miami, Florida, U.S.A, Sir Mbonu Emerem Organized and Co-ordinated a one month Group Arts Exhibition in the Museum of the Americas titled: “Pushing Back the Frontiers of Creativity – Contemporary Artists from Nigeria,” featuring 13 Nigerian artists of various natural and artistic callings in Paintings, Photography, Drawings, Digital Arts, mixed media, weaving(Hand Crafted Bags), etc. namely;
1. Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem; 2. Toochukwu T. C. Anyachonkeya; 3. Henry Ugonna Ike;
4. Arinze Samuel Obiefule; 5. Sir Samuel Nnamdi Emerem; 6. Titus Chike Ezenagu; 7. Felix Ndubuisi Ezejiogu; 8. Obinna Anthony Ojiego; 9. Isaac Ikechukwu Chukwura; 10. Lady Jovita Chika Emerem; 11. Samuel Onyinye Mbagwu; 12. Amarachi Uchechi Emerem; 13. Chiemerie Akaraugo Emerem.
In 2011, Sir Mbonu Emerem, was one of the 30 International Artists selected in Italy from 11 countries:
Italy, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Spain, India, USA, Portugal, Brazil, Nigeria and Costa Rica, to exhibit from February 11, 2011 – March 21, 2011, in Ventipertrenta in Tecate, Baja Califonia, Mexico. The artists were selected from the participants in the various editions made in Italy. In the exhibition there are some of the artworks that were awarded by the international jury and also some of those which the audience decided to reward, through surveys.
In 2011, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem received these awards and honours:
Invitation for Induction into the “American Hall of Fame”. by the American Biographical Institute”(ABI)., USA;
“World Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Biographical Institute”, ABI., USA.
“Nomination for the position of the Deputy Governor of the American Biographical Institute Research Association” (ABIRA), USA;
“The Noble Order of International Ambassadors”, American Biographical Institute, ABI, Personal Nomination of Sir Mbonu C. Emerem, for the 2011. This is an honorary decoration rewarding multinational men and women for their outstanding services to world society.
In the same year, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was awarded:
“The World Congress of Arts, Sciences and Communications Lifetime Achievement Award” by The World Congress, Great Britain.
Also, in the same 2011, the International Biographical Center, Cambridge, England, awarded artist, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem the following awards:
“The Da Vinci Diamond For Inspirational Accomplishment”;
“Deputy Director General of the international Biographical Center for Africa”
“The International Order of Merit”
“2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century 2011”
In 2012, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem was awarded “Gold Medal for Nigeria” in the ‘One World – Diverse Yet Intertwined’. A personal nomination from the American Biographical Institute’s Governing Board of Editors in the United States of America.
Also, in 2012, Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem was appointed as one of the International Artistic Advisors Committee of the Museum of the Americas (IAACMOA), Representing NIGERIA.
Nominated for induction into the “American Biographical Institute World Hall of Fame”, U.S.A.
Honoured with “Magna Cum Laude” from the American Biographical Institute, U.S.A.
Invitation into the “Legion of Honours” by the United Cultural Convention, U.S.A.
Honoured with “Medal of Noble Distinction” of the American Biographical Institute Governing Board of Editors, U.S.A.
Nominated to the “2012 Lifetime Achievement Award of the United Cultural Convention” by the United Cultural Convention, Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Invitation to become “American Biographical Institute Academician Award”.
Also in 2010, Sir Mbonu Emerem was commissioned to make the portrait of Pastor BOBBY G. ROSS’S Portrait Painting. The Official Presentation Ceremony of the late Dr. Bobby G. Ross portrait, painted by an international artist from Nigeria, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem, at Eastway Drive Church of God, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. The current Pastor, Bishop Dan A. Carter, Members of the Church Council and the Church congregation orchestrated and arranged for the formal reception of the Nigerian artist and the presentation of the portrait of the late Pastor Ross on Sunday, April 11, 2010. The portrait is now on display inside the GRAND BANQUET HALL, Eastway Drive Church of God – “Charlotte’s Oldest Pentecostal Church” – 1131 Eastway Drive, Charlotte, NC 28205, U.S.A. The Grand Banquet Hall is now dedicated to the late Pastor Bobby G. Ross in recognition of his 37 years (August 1968 – August 2005) of selfless and generous services to humanity in various positions and capacities across the globe, serving and winning souls in the vineyard of God as a Pastor of Eastway Drive Church of God Charlotte, across United States of America and far beyond, where he left outstanding distinctions in the field of religion and service to God and His Church.
Sir Mbonu C. Emerem has received many honors, awards, and invitations from overseas for the exhibition of his paintings. His works have received accolades from renowned scholars. Notable international scholars, art directors, museums and institutions have reviewed his works. These include: International Artistic Committee for the Arad Biennale 2005; Agora Gallery, Soho/Chelsea, New York, USA; Campanela Gallery of Park College, Missouri, USA; University Museum, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA; Montclair Art Galleries, Montclair, New Jersey, USA; The Governing Board of Editors, American Biographical Institute, North Carolina, USA; The Board of Directors of the Museum of the Americas, Doral, Miami, Florida, USA; The International Jury, Ventipertrenta ( Musestra Internacional de Arte Digital), Belforte del Chienti, Italy. Terra dell’ Arte (Associazione Cultural Internazionale), Belforte del Chienti, Italy. International Dynamic Contemporary Arts Museum, (MIDAC), Belforte del Chienti, Italy. The International Jury, International Show of Art, Mar del Sur, Argentina, etc.
Agora Gallery Incorporated, Soho/Chelsea, New York City, New York, United States of America, has represented Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem. He signed the representation agreement in May 2003. The representation includes a group exhibition that takes place every year.
Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Aba, has compiled a one and half hour video documentary on the life and works of Sir Mbonu C. Emerem plus a three-hour video documentary on his works alone.
DAAR Communications Ltd, Alagbado, Lagos, Nigeria, has featured him in their television: African Independent Television (AIT), in their extensive programmes “Entertainment and Style,” “Odenigbo,” “Launch Break”, “Kakaki”, and other personality programmes. In 1997, African Independent Television (AIT), also compiled a 30-minutes documentary on the life and works of Sir Mbonu Christopher Emerem under their Television Programme Cultural Africa entitled: “Profile of a Nigerian Artist’’. AIT has been airing this programme from time to time up to date.
In 2001, Minaj Broadcasting International Ltd (MBI) interviewed, compiled and featured a Thirty Minutes Documentary on the life and works of Sir Mbonu C. Emerem under their personality programme “Arts and People” and some other programmes.
He was among the artists selected by in Nigeria by the Society of Nigerian Artists in collaboration with the National Gallery of Arts, Abuja, Nigeria, to hold exhibition in the year 2000 entitled “Tolerance and Peace” at the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, Abuja, to mark the end of the millennium.
Sir Mbonu C. Emerem is a much-traveled man within Nigeria and abroad. He has made many trips outside Nigeria: United States of America, Germany, Poland, Cameroon, Republic of Benin and Togo.
The works of some artists stir him passionately. These artists include Picasso, Van Gogh, Soutine, Gustin, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Vermeer Pollock, De Kooning and Renoir. He looks at their works for inspiration and their impacts are discernible in some of his works. Also, he is a lover of music and his favorites are rock, jazz and instrumental. He works with music, which gives him the greatest stimuli. Sir Mbonu C. Emerem is widely collected by private collectors and corporate clients both locally and internationally.
He is a member of Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA). Also, he is a Friend of the Museum, National Museum of Colonial History, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria.
Sir Mbonu C. Emerem is married to an Artist/Curator, Lady Jovita Chika Emerem (Nee Mbagwu) and they now have six children- three boys and three girls. Their names are: Amarachi U. Emerem, Ezichi C. Emerem, Chiemerie A. Emerem, Oluebube C. Emerem, Chidubem C. Emerem and Sorochi C. Emerem.
He was born and baptized in the Anglican faith and in 2002, Sir Mbonu C. Emerem was invested with the Knighthood title of the Anglican Church: The Knight of St. Christopher (KSC), in the Cathedral of S.S. Peter and Paul, Nkwerre, Imo State. He adores his immediate family and cherishes the bonds and responsibilities of the extended family we have here in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general. He has held positions of trust and responsibilities as a student, business executive, and at his town’s level, Uburu-Ekwe.
Prof. Iheanyi C. Achumba
Former: Head of Department of Business Administration
University of Lagos