Chika Okeke-Agulu was born in Umuahia in Nigeria in 1966. He studied at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (BA, First Class Honors, Sculpture and Art History, 1990; MFA, Painting, 1994), University of South Florida, Tampa (MA, Art History, 1999), and Emory University, Atlanta (PhD, Art History, 2004).
Okeke-Agulu taught at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Penn State University, and was the Clark Visiting Professor, Williams College. He is Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University
He is a writer and columnist for The Huffington Post, and blogs at Ọfọdunka. He is a member of the Board of Directors of College Arts Association, and Princeton in Africa. He received the College Art Association 2016 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism. He is the recipient, from African Studies Association, of the 2016 Melville J. Herskovits Award for the most important scholarly work in African Studies published in English in 2015, and Honorable Mention, The Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication Award, from the Art Council of African Studies Association (2017).
“El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale” (curated by Chika Okeke Agulu)
Curator Chika Okeke-Agulu and artist El Anatsui talk about the artist’s work and the exhibition “El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale” at Haus der Kunst in Berlin.(2019)
Curated Uche Okeke 60th Birthday Anniversary Retrospective at the Goethe-Institut, Lagos. In 1995, he organized the Nigerian section of the First Johannesburg Biennale and co-organized Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, and Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden. In 2001, he co-organized, with Okwui Enwezor, The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945–1994, at the Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, Haus der Kulturen der Welt/Martin Gropiusbau, Berlin, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and PS1/MOMA, New York. He served as an Academic Consultant and Coordinator of Platform 4, for Documenta11, Kassel in 2002. In 2004 he co-organized the 5th Gwangju Biennial and Strange Planet at the Georgia State University Art Gallery. He co-organized Life Objects: Rites of Passage in African Art for the Princeton University Art Museum in 2009, and (with Udo Kittelmann and Britta Schmitz), Who Knows Tomorrow, at the Nationalgalerie, Berlin, (June-Sept., 2010)
Okeke-Agulu has published articles and reviews in Parkett, African Arts, Glendora Review, Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, South Atlantic Quarterly, Artforum International, and Art South Africa. He has contributed to edited volumes, including Reading the Contemporary: African Art from Theory to the Market Place; The Nsukka Artists and Nigerian Contemporary Art; The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movement in Africa, 1945–1994; Art Criticism and Africa; and Is Art History Global? His books include Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text (2016), Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria (2015), Contemporary African Art Since 1980 (2009), Who Knows Tomorrow (2010), Phyllis Galembo: Maske (2010), and Ezumeezu: Essays on Nigerian Art and Architecture, a Festschrift in Honour of Demas Nwoko (2012). He is editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, published by Duke University Press.
As an artist Okeke-Agulu has had three solo exhibitions, five joint exhibitions, and twenty-eight group exhibitions in England, Germany, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Trindad and Tobago, and the United States.
He participated in the First Johannesburg Biennale (1995). His work is in the collections of the Newark Museum, Iwalewa-Haus, University of Bayreuth, and the National Council for Arts and Culture, Lagos.