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Monica Ikegwu

Maryland Institute College of Art

oil on canvas


Tell us about the work that you have submitted.

The work is part of a series of five paintings depicting African American men with a red light reflected on their faces. The red light is symbolic of the “danger” quality that these men are labeled within society.

How do you describe your work and practice?

My work has a strong focus on portraiture of African Americans and how I see them in relation to my life in Baltimore.

What motivated you to apply to the XL Catlin Art Prize?

I was highly motivated by the idea of getting my work out there for the public to see. Entering this competition would allow me to share my work with a broad spectrum of people who may have never been exposed to my work before.

What are you interested in?

When it comes to my work, I like the idea of placing the three-dimensional within the two-dimensional. Having figures rendered very realistically with a very flat element makes the work much more interesting in my eyes.