Artist rediscovering the scenes of ordinary life in Nigeria

Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi observes daily life and paints what she sees, and the result is a collection of witty, touching, and genuine paintings.

Ukraine-born Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi has taken a natural liking to Nigeria. After her first visit to Enugu state, her partner’s hometown, in 2013 she picked up the brush and painted what she saw. The paintings illustrate daily situations in the village such as taking a midday nap, watching television, family gatherings, the return of an uncle from the diaspora, and the local market.

The paintings of the people of Enugu are characteristic of Cherkassky-Nnadi’s style. Prior to this new work, she painted daily scenes of Russian immigrants in Israel in a body of work called “Aliya 91”, still lifes, nudes, and a peculiar image named “The circumcision of Uncle Yasha”.

Cherkassky-Nnadi’s paintings skirt away from the grand and often bleak narratives of Africa to the most mundane scenes of people going about their business and the end product is a tender picture of day-to-day life in Nigeria. 

Images via

"Uncle Sunday is back" by Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi.
"The tired tailor" by Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi.
"Market" by Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi.
"Nigeria-Argentina" by Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi.
"The Widower" by Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi.
"What would Jesus do?" by Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi.