Born 1973 Anthony Nsofor is a contemporary Nigerian painter. His early inspiration to become an artist came when he was a child, he admired the paintings of his uncle displayed on walls in their house in Owerri by his father. He was also fascinated by the illustrations and beautiful photographs he found in his mother’s textbooks in their home and loved copying and reproducing them exactly the way they were. He got so much applause for his creative abilities and his ingenuity from his early admirers. This spurred him to study and obtain a degree in Fine and Applied Arts from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, majoring in painting in 1997. As a student in Nsukka, Tony was privileged to work as a studio assistant to Prof. Obiora Udechukwu, an experience he has praised for its tremendous impact in his career as an artist. Despite identifying with the Uli art philosophy of the Nsukka School of Art, he prefers to use “scribbles and scratches” for expression on his canvases rather than drawing or painting these symbols the way they are like his contemporaries. His paintings are inspired by his experiences in life, they tell great stories that are revealed and appreciated looking at them from a distance and, so far, they have been well exhibited at home and abroad.
In Grim Polity (Ballot Boxes and Beasts of Power), Tony uses rough and scratchy brush strokes of different colours – blue, white and black – to reflect on the distorted manner of the nation’s leadership and governance. Issues on godfatherism, corruption, nepotism, mafia and tribalism are addressed as political cankerworms stunting the nation’s all round growth and progress. The piece is a permanent collection of the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA) and is a donation by the artist.