Udondian’s work is driven by her interest in textiles and the potential for clothing to shape identity, informed by the histories and tacit meanings embedded in everyday materials. She creates work that questions notions of cultural identity and post-colonial positions in relation to her experiences growing up in Nigeria. In 2020, Udondian was named a Guggenheim fellow. Her works have been exhibited internationally, this includes The Inaugural Nigerian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennial-An Excerpt, Fisher Landau Centre for the Arts, New York; The Bronx Museum, NY; The Children Museum of Manhattan, New York; National Museum, Lagos; Whitworth Gallery in Manchester etc. Some of her Artist Residencies include, Instituto Sacatar, Bahia, Brazil; Mass Moca, Massachusetts, USA; Fine Arts Work Centre (FAWC), Provincetown; USA; Villa Straulli, Winterthur, Switzerland; Fondazione di Venezia, Venice, Italy and Bag Factory Studios, Johannesburg, South Africa. Udondian received an MFA in Sculpture and New Genres from Columbia University, New York; attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and a BA in painting from the University of Uyo, Nigeria. She is currently a Visiting Associate professor of Art at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, New York.
The sculptural series Okrika Bale is the result of a survey conducted in collaboration with the Association San Vincenzo Ca’ Letizia, the Mestre chapter of the St Vincent de Paul Society Charities, an international lay Catholic organization dedicated to assisting those in need through the invaluable contribution of a large group of volunteers. During my residency in Venice, with their support,I had the opportunity to study the process of collection and export of used clothing from Italy to the African continent. Some of these used clothes have been integrated into the sculptures, which deliberately take the form of “okrika” bales, the typical form in which the packaged clothing arrives for sale on the Nigerian market. The sculptures show the paradox of a shipment, which begins with an act of charity, but, while in transit, often gives in to the dynamics of an uncontrollable monetary exchange.