About Obiora Embry

1990s

Obiora (pronounced OH-BEE-OAR-UH) is an Ibo/Igbo name that means "goodwill to family and friends" or "the good wishes of the people." He was born to creative parents within a tight‐knit extended family and learned how to make‐do, think outside of the box, the importance of family (past and present), and Nature. Growing up Obiora was a budding visual artist who enjoyed sketching and drawing so much that he had thought about pursuing a career as an art teacher. In 1990 or 1991 he received his first camera, a neon colored 110, as a birthday present.

With this camera Obiora took photographs of the family backyard orchard of various edible fruit and nuts, while on family road trips, and family gatherings. Around 1994 or 1995, he upgraded his camera to 35mm and expanded his photographic range while drawing and sketching less.

2000s

In 2002 after Obiora began growing food as an adult he photographed his gardens at different stages. In 2006 he started his consulting business and started displaying his photographs publicly. Even though his photographs were made public, he did not consider himself a photographer because he was only using them to add a visual element to his speaking engagements or his booth at fairs and events.

The Transformation

In 2011 Obiora started to think differently about his photographs because he had been given many compliments over the years by associates at an office supply company that printed his images. As he began to think of himself as a photographer, Obiora chose to display his photographs at a book signing he organized for his inaugural book, Expanding Horizons Through Creative Expressions: Reflections and Thoughts Related to the Struggle for Peace, Sustainability, Equality, and the Search for Humanity at his workplace—in Columbus, Ohio. Obiora’s three photographs received compliments and he donated them to three co–workers/friends.

When he returned to his hometown, he decided to have a family book signing that included art. At the Embry Family Book Signing & Art Exhibit in 2014 Obiora showcased 21 photographs. And through different decisions that he made while organizing the event, his father, a paternal cousin, and himself were included in Gallery Hop—this was his first Gallery Hop as an artist.

The Present and Future

Obiora continued to take photographs but spent little to no time thinking about showing his work until he saw an artist prospectus for the 2016 Shaped by Water exhibit at Gallery on Main (GOM). He submitted three pieces and the same day that he dropped off his work, a Board member, asked him to join the Board, which he later accepted (he nominated himself to become Vice–President after there was a mutiny, and the following year at the elections he remained Vice–President).

Rise Above

Obiora submitted his proposal for a solo exhibit that was accepted by the Board. For this exhibit, he called it "Rise Above" and below is an excerpt from his proposal:

Even though I didn’t pursue a creative career, I remained true to my roots by being creative when the mood rose. I say "rose" because it’s tied to the theme of my solo exhibit for the 2016–2017 season. I selected photographs in which the subject(s) is/are standing tall or rising above. It is easy to become something that you are not or to fall between the cracks but by "rising above" an individual can continue life’s journey. A person has to find the strength within to rise above or stand tall even in the face of adversity.

In the original proposal Obiora was going to have 16 pieces, with most of them tied to chemtrails (not oontrails) as a means to shed light on the strange mist (fake clouds) that are now common in the in the sky even in remote and rural areas. However while preparing for the exhibit in September 2017, he decided to show more diverse work and had 27 photographs, which did include a few with chemtrails.

By the Books

Through a partnership with the Madison County Public Library in Richmond, Gallery on Main developed a monthly "artist of the month" presentation and exhibit. Obiora was the By the Books artist of the month in October 2017. He limited the thoughts expressed during his presentation because he spent most of it waiting for family to arrive—there was a heavy downpour that afternoon— but nonetheless for those interested in viewing his talk you can do so here.

2017 and beyond

In January 2017 Obiora upgraded his camera (again) and bought his first DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex). Some of his recent photographs include water, wildlife, native pollinators, family events, and more. Even though Obiora is not a professional photographer he has been fortunate to have his work shown at the Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center, LexArts, Gallery on Main, Richmond Area Arts Center (RAAC), Central Bank (in downtown Richmond, KY), and purchased by Baptist Health (in Richmond, KY), family, and friends.