According to Enebeli, his art is a bridge between old Nigeria and new Nigeria, bringing disappearing traditions, ceremonies and cultures back to the fore. While his themes and ideas are a throwback to tradition, his execution is bold and unusual.
Tony was born in Delta State in 1956. He joined Bruce Onobrakpeya’s studio in 1985. He later set up his own studio in 1990, focusing on etchings. He explores the traditions and culture of his native Anioma people
Tony Enebeli is one of Nigeria’s most prominent artists. His main media are plastocast and metal foil. With these unusual media he has created a distinctive style. His works capture scenes from his native Anioma area in Delta state as well as other parts of Nigeria – the ceremonies, rites and traditions. The Ipu Afia series for instance are about an annual ceremony in his Anioma village. At a fixed point in the year all indigenes of Anioma return to the village to celebrate together. To signal the beginning of the ceremony, the oldest women in the village is escorted to a hut with a gourd tied to the wall. The ceremony starts when she breaks the gourd. His series of “Ipu Afia” works capture the procession leading the woman to the hut.
Enebeli’s exhibitions include ‘The Nigerian arts exhibition’ in Fredrisveaek, Sweden and Spanua, Berlin in 1986; Contemporary West African Arts Exhibition at Impression Gallery, Boston Massachusetts in 1989; ‘In Africa’ at Avanguardia , Milan , Italy in 1993; ‘Visions of Ancestral Heritage’, Italian Cultural Institute, Lagos in 1992 ; ‘African Passage’, Air Gallery, London in 2003.