Ibe Ananaba born in Belgium, grew up in Aba, Nigeria, and was inspired to draw at an early age by his older brother who is also an artist. He eventually studied Fine and Applied Arts at the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu, Nigeria and graduated with Distinction in Painting in 1999.
Ananaba worked as an Art Director in the advertising industry for fifteen years before going into full-time studio practice. Always willing to push creative boundaries, he experiments using an interdisciplinary approach to his art, working as a painter, fashion illustrator, art director, calligraphist, designer, and muralist.
He has taken part in many group shows and solo exhibitions in Nigeria, South Africa, the United States, the UK, Israel, and Canada. He won First Prize in the Art Masters Contest, at Art Vancouver in 2019. His work is in important collections including the National Assembly Abuja, and he has regularly taught workshops and seminars on diverse topics including ‘Harnessing your artistic potential’, amongst many others. Ananaba also volunteers as the Chief Art Consultant and Coordinator of studio programs for the Girl Child Art Foundation, a non-governmental organization committed to using art as an advocacy tool for adolescent girls.
Ananaba created Follow the Journey, a large mural project at the Seven-Up Bottling Company headquarters in Lagos, where he painted a stunning visual timeline of the company’s journey in Nigeria, from inception in 1960 till date. In 2016, he led the African Child Advocacy Wall Mural Campaign, a collaborative project with the Canadian High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria.
Ananaba’s work has been featured in numerous international publications including Fashion: A Second Language (Shoko Press, London, 2020), Watercolor Artists Magazine (2019), Masters of Watercolors (Planeta Muzyki Publishers, Finland, 2018), The Villager (Tracey McDonald Publishers, South Africa, 2018), Fashion Illustration Africa, (Shoko Press, London, 2016) and Artists of Nigeria (5 Continents Edition, Italy, 2012), and is listed in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Collection.
Ananaba lives in Lagos where he maintains his studio.