Opening : 7 pm to 9:00 pm. Saturday. May 13th. 

Public Viewing: May 13th to June 3rd 2023 

Address: 2220 Commerce Street #D, Houston, TX 77002

Mitochondria Gallery is pleased to present “Such is Life,” the debut solo exhibition by Nigerian visual artist Okoye Chukwuemeka John.

In this body of work, Okoye strives to capture glimpses of everyday life moments that are beyond our control. Moments of peace, overwhelm, sadness, joy, fatigue, love, and perseverance. These are experiences shared by all of humanity. Okoye employs his palette knife, paint brush, and oil paints to create portraiture in the style of realism to render the aura and dramatic forms of his subjects in a state of equanimity.

In the paintings presented, Okoye depicts varying narratives of acceptance of life’s moments from the perspective of a young adult living in eastern Nigeria. He meticulously captures the tones of the subject’s expressions in solitude, using warm colors, light, shadows, and texture to generate compositions which convey emotional depth.

Studio Visit


Asylum I. Oil on Canvas. 34 x 35 inches. 2023
Asylum II. Oil on Canvas. 46 x 29 inches. 2023
Shabac. Oil on Canvas. 29 x 34 inches. 2023
Aba girl. Oil on Canvas. 34 x 35 inches. 2023
Sunflower. Oil on Canvas. 29 x 29 inches. 2023
Phew. Oil on Canvas. 29 x 32 inches. 2023

About Okoye Chukwuemeka John

Okoye Chukwuemeka John is a Nigerian based artist, born on the 13th of January 1997. He studied art at the University of Uyo, Uyo Akwa Ibom State Nigeria. Being a realistic painter has always made him feel he has a voice even when he is not there to talk about his art.

Over the years he has always been inspired by his emotions and those of individuals around him. Having engaged himself in different ways with people he has come to realize that everyone wants to be heard, everyone wants to say or talk about how they feel, but some can’t because no one is there to listen to them due to social, cultural, political, and historical issues. 

He sees his art as a voice for himself and all those who can’t voice how they feel. He uses thin and thick layers of paint to create illusions of people’s emotions, through their facial expressions and body gestures. His preferred mediums of expression are oil on canvas and charcoal on paper. Okoye Emeka trained under the realist master Dennis Ani.

Okoye’s debut group exhibition occurred in the fall of 2022, at Mitochondria Gallery, where he garnered attention from art critics and collectors from North America to Asia, and beyond. Okoye’s artistic recognition continued to blossom as he was selected as one of the standout emerging artists to participate in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund benefit (Fall, 2022) which featured renowned artists such as Sam Gilliam, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Sarah Slappey, Derrick Adams, Kehinde Wiley, Amoako Boafo, and Jeff Koons. In the spring of 2023, an Untitled painting by Okoye was featured in Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary African art at their London location. His debut solo exhibition “Such is Life” opens at Mitochondria gallery, on May 13th, 2023.

Works by Okoye are part of private collections across Africa, North America, and Europe such as the prestigious CCH Pounder collection, Batra family collection, Hobdy Family collection, Ebert Collection, and Oluwole Omofemi collection.

Select Exhibitions

  • Such Is Life. Mitochondria Gallery. Houston, Texas. 2023
  • Modern and Contemporary African Art. Sotheby’s. London, U.K. 2023.
  • Thurgood Marshall College Benefit Fund. Artsy. New York. 2022.
  • Latitudes of Expression. Mitochondria Gallery. Houston, Texas. 2022.


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