African Digital Collagist Nkiruka Oparah

African Digital Collagist Nkiruka Oparah

Nkiruka Oparah (they/them) is an artist and poet living and working in Oakland, CA. Through drawing, collage, video, assemblage, and performance, Oparah builds multimedia portraits and ephemeral forms from familial and cultural images, found objects, and repurposed materials to investigate memory, otherness, and the multiplicity of identities within them.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are your from, when did your journey into art begin?

I’m 28, and a 1st generation Nigerian living in Brooklyn, NY by way of Atlanta, Ga where I grew up.   I guess my journey started by what I am, what we all are.  I was created and even growing up I felt most alive when I was creating – drawing, painting, etc.  I moved to NY a few years ago to study at Parsons, thats when I really became fascinated by what I could do with collage.  Lately, my obsession with graphic design has filtered into my ideas and work.

Why do you choose the medium of collage? How does it allow you to express yourself?

Sounds corny, but I think I choose collage because I like the transformation.  I like having all these separate ideas and images and thoughts and trying to find the right visual interpretation for that particular moment or project.  It’s both familiar and anonymous at the same time.  

Where do you draw inspiration from? Which artists inspire your work? What sort of images are you drawn to?

My inspiration comes from everywhere — not to be vague.  Sometimes colors, fashion imagery, photography, sculpture, installation, or even just a mood I am in or the memory of something I saw once.  There’s an ever growing list of creatives that inspire me, depending on what I am into at the time.   Photographers like Viviane Sassen and Charlie Engman; M/M Paris and severafrahm design studios, editorial journals and many graphic designers….just to name a few.  I am usually drawn to images that have a kind of coldness to them – images where the ‘beauty’  is not so obvious.