ABOUT SHIRI ACHU
Shiri Achu was born in Cameroon, West Africa. She and her family immigrated to London, where she lived for many years. Today, she has studios in Cameroon, the UK, and the USA.
After obtaining an A* & A at GCSE and A level Art, she went on to study Architecture at Cardiff University. However, since qualifying as an Architect, Shiri continued to long for her paint brush and now dares to follow and advance the passion she has pursued throughout her life; Painting.
She picked up her first paint brush at a tender age of 9, experimenting with several mediums including oils, acrylics, watercolour, mix media, etc. Today, her chosen preferred mediums are acrylics and oils. Shiri Achu’s art comes from everyday, unsurprising yet unexpectedly vivid moments, times, places and objects. She seeks to capture the spirit of her subjects and make them come alive through form, colour, texture and tone. She draws insight from her travels but in general, her inspiration is very broad; from natural moments captured in Africa to still objects, from the human form to the human in action; etc
The eternal optimist, Shiri sees beauty in almost anything and everything. She finds beauty where there is normalcy, and she sees colour through shades of grey. She therefore draws from this distinctively beautiful World of hers and aims to evoke an emotion which translates into images of delight or surprise, with the sole objective of capturing the soul of the subject. There is also a contrasting and contradictory side to Shiri’s ‘Beautiful’ World. Paintings of animal hearts have only led to her being called morbid, dark, and even confused?! And her love for painting raw meat and the naked human flesh is one to be interrogated.
Composition and subject matter are key in Shiri’s works. The concept for each piece is clear, and the focus gripping, and although the viewer will understand some of the pieces, some may not be understood and apprehended, because abstract/tashism is explored by Shiri in some of her pieces, to leave her viewers to come to their own conclusions. Shiri’s art is bold, dramatic and uncompromising. They aim to delight and leave the viewer moved as well as leave the viewer with thoughts of wonderment, at times of bewilderment; also to engage ones diagnostic imagination.
Ever increasingly so, one of the aims of Shiri Achu’s Art is to showcase the culture of Cameroon and other African countries worldwide. It’s also to bring back the fond memories to those in the diaspora.
She finds beauty in the woman carrying her child on her back and going her way, She finds beauty in the old lady who makes here ‘atchu’ in her dark outdoor kitchen for her grandchildren, She finds beauty in the African fabrics, she finds beauty, envy even, in the young girl climbing the tree!! So she paints these images. For her they are beautiful moments and for that moment, whilst she works on that piece she buries herself in the story and in the culture. There is a beautiful simplicity in the African culture she is trying to project into the western world. She paints them to educate people in the western world whilst trying to entice them to be inquisitive of the culture and to one day plan to visit and see for themselves.
Shiri Achu’s Art is gripping and engaging across the globe. From Australia to Texas, from Wales to Atlanta, from London to Singapore, from Cameroon to Berlin, from Kenya to Ghana. Her works (Originals and Signed Limited prints) have been and are continually sought after all over the world. Shiri has representatives in Cameroon, Prague, USA and in Australia. Shiri is extremely pleased and excited that she is achieving one of her goals of promoting the African Culture worldwide.
Five years after The 30th Act, Shiri’s first solo exhibition, 35InPrint:London exhibition took place from April 19, 2014 and during the one week long exhibition, the mayor of Harrow attended along with the late Mr. Barry Lord (Shiri’s mentor and museum designer of the new Smithsonian African American museum).
36InPrint:DC exhibition kicked off with Shiri attending a discussion group on “Champions of change for expanding fair chance opportunities” at the White House and ended with a recognition letter from Congressman Chris Van Hollen, “…in presenting the inaugural 36InPrint Art exhibition and with appreciation for using art to capture the spirit of African culture in our community.”
37InPrint:Australia exhibition took place in Adelaide from 14th – 23rd July 2016. 38InPrint: Jamaica exhibition took place at The University of The West Indies, Regional Headquarters from 25th August – 8th September 2017. 39InPrint: Toronto exhibition took place at Ariilon in Toronto from 1st – 4th December 2018.
Shiri has been privileged to exhibit and talk about her paintings at The Commonwealth Secretariat in London, The Houses of Parliament, The African Village at London Olympics 2012, and also the BBC TV show “Show me the Monet” after her painting “Rose” was shortlisted for the show in 2012.
Shiri has been recognized by US art critic Lennox Campello who chose her works as TOP 10 at the Artomatic art exhibition where hundreds of artists come together under one roof, over several floors to exhibit. In his write-up, he states, Shiri Achu’s art is "Powerful African Art in a marriage of contemporary skills with strong African imagery…" Lenny Campello
Shiri Achu’s Art is gripping and engaging across the globe. Her works have been and are continually sought after all over the world. Her works have been featured in several magazines, newspapers, blogs, and the book, International Contemporary Masters VII, published by World Wide Art books Inc, pages 64-65. Also, The Smithsonian (The shop at the National Museum of African Art) orders, and sells out of, Shiri Achu Art limited edition prints.
Prominent public figures like Africa’s Cameroonian football legend Roger Milla, Grammy award-winning American singers Brandy and Faith Evans, British actor James Faulkner, British soul singer (MBE) Omar, Cameroon makossa legendary musicians: Papa Salle John, Sam Fan Thomas and Prince Ndedi Eyango; Ghanaian politician, daughter of Kwame Nkrumah, Samia Nkrumah; Jamaican living legend Mutabaruka; singers: Angelique Kidjo, and Soul Queen Angie Stone all own Shiri Achu Art.
Shiri Achu Art is also owned by over 400 collectors who buy from her website, at art fairs, group and solo exhibitions and also from those who buy from The Smithsonian and elsewhere…
Ten years after her first solo exhibition at St Augustine’s Tower in London in 2009, Shiri Achu was excited to celebrate her 10th anniversary last year in 2019 with ‘The 40th Act’ exhibitions taking place first at the very same venue where she had her first exhibition in London, St Augustine’s Tower, from 8th – 11th August 2019 , then at The Cameroon Embassy in Washington DC from Friday 8th through to Sunday 10th November 2019. Shiri finally ended the year by exhibiting The 40th Act, Part 2 DC at The University of the District of Columbia from 3rd-7th December 2019.
When Shiri receives messages such as this, “I can recognise your art as beautiful because it makes my heart want to smile” Samir Malik, she is encouraged to keep working hard and motivated to keep making hearts smile. She is grateful and thankful for every encouragement and opportunity that enables her to keep painting. She is grateful for the opportunity to mentor young people in London, Cameroon, and the USA.
Shiri is extremely pleased and excited that she is achieving one of her goals of promoting the African Culture worldwide, through her art works, workshops and her annual worldwide InPrint exhibitions.
AWARDS / ACCOLADES
‘The best Artist in Brent’ by the Brent Council. London
TOP 10 Artist at “Artomatic” 2016, Washington DC
Citation presented by Member of Congress, Chris Van Hollen, to Shiri Achu Art in recognition of… ‘presenting the inaugural 36InPrintDC art exhibition, and with appreciation for using art to capture the spirit of Africa culture in our community.’14th May 2016
Distinguished Fellowship of African Art and Culture, FAAC
Advisor on The Artomatic Board 2019 / 2020 https://www.artomatic.org/
Board of Directors – Artomatic 2020/2021 https://www.artomatic.org/
Ayoo Africa Top Ten 2020 – Art