Timing helped Precious Ndukuba (Architecture 2019) decide to submit her paintings for the Human Perspectives exhibition, which begins at Gonville & Caius College this week.
The Caius MCR, led by BME Officer David Posner (Molecular Biology PhD 2020), devised the exhibition to highlight the work of new minority artists, exploring identity, culture, and self-expression through the voice of new British artists. More details are on our website.
Precious said: “It was an interesting topic – migrant relationships and how you represent that in art. And I’m doing my dissertation on finding home and migration.
“Quite recently my grandma passed away in Nigeria and I started doing some art works in her memory, so I was working on something that fitted the theme. It all happened at the same time.
“Normally my art is more abstract and from nature. After her passing the two pieces I worked on which are in the exhibition are still abstract, but they take inspiration from a piece of clothing she was wearing in one of the last photographs taken of her. The patterns of that clothing inspired those two pieces.”
The week-long Human Perspectives exhibition opens on Saturday, while there is a preview show for Caians on Friday evening (details on The Venn, College intranet). The exhibition takes place during Black History Month.
“I’m glad it’s being shown in Black History Month because it’s a massive part of me, my culture, why I do my art,” Precious says.
“You’ve got to give people a platform and there’s a big difference, currently, on who does and doesn’t get a platform.”
Precious is the only Caian artist featuring. She has always loved art, and takes solace in it.
“I grew up sketching and from a young age I was always at an easel just drawing. I’ve always drawn,” she says.
“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed to relax. If work’s ever getting too much, it’s the perfect thing to do. A specific art playlist, a specific set of paints and a specific canvas and everything’s all good.”
Precious sketches wherever she finds herself, but her preference for oil paints means she paints in her room.
“If you ask any of my friends they will tell you that my room is full of art,” she adds.
Precious was encouraged to try oil paints by a teacher at Rugby High School in Warwickshire, and when she received an art scholarship to study A-Levels at Rugby School she became even more productive. She contemplated undertaking a foundation year, but always knew architecture was the goal.
“My sketching is a skill I always use in my architecture, so that’s quite helpful. But my art and architecture are very different things,” she says.
“My architecture is very socially driven, with community-based architecture. How you can use space to change a community. It’s for a bigger scale.
“Whereas my art is either more for me, or for children – I spent my secondary school years running an art club for kids in a primary school.”
Now she is sharing her art with the Caius community.