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Unwana Efiong’s Artistry Serves as an Extension of Self

Unwana Efiong

Unwana Efiong’s art serves as an extension of her person, her innermost self to be more precise. She creates as a release of pent-up creative energy, rather than seeing art as her own way of expressing her deluge of emotions. Unwana, hailed from Akwa Ibom was born to an artist father and a mother who is a retired music teacher and radio/tv presenter. She recalls her early days as an artist, picking up the pencil as early as five years of age. “My dad used to critique my works” she said, “He was very much into fabrics with artist designs and he also owned a gallery, even though I never visited it.”


Over the years, Unwana began to create more pieces and then decided to pursue being a creative by applying to study Fine arts in Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. She transitioned midway to Cyprus to study architecture which is art adjacent. However, while Unwana admits that architecture is also art, she said architecture has a few constraints due to the engineering aspect and different urban planning rules across countries.



Unwana’s skills, and style continued to evolve over the years as she began to favour sketches over acrylic and traditional oil on canvas. She has gone to create charcoal drawings, digital paintings, scrawled artworks and was part of a team that created a few sculptural 3-Dimensional works. A notable example of this was in 2021, when Unwana Efiong volunteered as an artist at Eckankar Church in Uyo, Akwa Ibom to work on two specialised projects. “The first project involved designing and constructing a six-pointed star using perspex material covering an aluminum/alucobond material base measuring 2m by 2m. This star was to be mounted on the ceiling of the church using specialized materials to secure it in an upside-down position.” she said.



Unwana Efiong

Unwana Efiong


The second project was the design and construction of a medium-sized ziggurat roof that’d be mounted on the first-floor suspended slab in the church. It is towering and imposing— and comes across as apt representation for Unwana’s devotion to her faith. She sees herself as a lover of spirituality and her art being an extension to that.


While in Cyprus studying, Unwana’s mother decided to declutter paintings lying around the house and organised a solo exhibition/sale inviting art lovers who shared interests in her art. There, she sold her first set of paintings which she considered a miracle. “Another miracle happened that day,” Unwana shares, “there was this lady who was looking to conceive. I had dressed up as a pregnant woman, took a photo, and made a painting from it. She bought the painting as an act of faith and afterwards delivered children. That makes me feel very good about my work.” She said.



Unwana Efiong now resides in the United Kingdom as a graduate in Architecture, temporarily working as a mental health support worker, while freelancing on the side. She has dipped her proverbial pen into numerous mediums of expression: abstraction, portraits, and still continues to create more work. She has exhibited at Holy Art Gallery, and Madeke Gallery and looks to grow her clientele and portfolio as well.


For her next exhibition, Unwana plans to dig deep, ”I plan to delve deeper into exploring themes that not only reflects my journey as an artist but reaches out to people on a deeper level. I aim to experiment with different mediums and techniques, pushing the boundaries of my creativity and expression.”



Oyedele is passionate about culture and arts. Engage on instagram and twitter, @omoalokan