Choema’s work has earned him both national and international acclaim. He has completed many public and private commissions, with exhibitions in both Sierra Leone and abroad. In the United Kingdom he has been part of group exhibitions at Leeds Play House Gallery, Van Mildert College, University of Durham, Perens Art Gallery, Hull and, at the Commonwealth Institute in London. Through his art, he communicates the beliefs, customs and traditions of the Sierra Leonean people while paying tribute to the country’s astounding natural beauty.
Julius C Parker and the Sierra Leone civil war
He had just completed a series of murals in one of the country’s most famous hotels, the Hotel Mammy Yoko in Aberdeen, Freetown, when the military Junta seized power in 1997. The lives of the citizens were disrupted to such an extent that the murals remained unappreciated until recently. The civil war in Sierra Leone had an even more devastating effect on Choema’s life. On January 15, 1999, the combined forces of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) reentered Freetown. The destruction was massive and the result despicable. This was the most critical massive attack in the decade long struggle. In short, it was the climax. Choema was bayoneted and fortunately escaped death unlike thousands of unfortunate Sierra Leoneans who lay bleeding on that day. January 15, 1999 is a day of infamy in Sierra Leone and, captured in “Power Madness” by Choema.
African artists and ethics
Choema wishes to promulgate ethical values such as sincerity, integrity, sensitivity, dedication and passion in his life and in art. His work endeavors to appeal to viewers on an emotional level. Frequently, he features the extremes of love and hatred in his pen and ink drawings.
He has persevered as an artist in spite of unimaginable obstacles. He feels that his artistic calling demands that he relentlessly strive for the highest political, socio-economic, cultural and spiritual good of his society. Basic facts of life with strong emotional appeal like love, hatred and fear, are constantly featured in his pen and ink drawings of the war, of which he is a victim.
To him, for the artist to elevate himself means to strive and often, amidst frustration. But on account of his artistic capabilities, there is no relenting on continually reflecting back on the society, the political, socio-economic, cultural and spiritual life of his society.
Man Proposes; God Disposes – 1998. Pen and Ink Drawing on paper. 18”X12”
Power Madness – 1999 Pen and Ink Drawing 18”X12” by Julius C Parker
Misrule – 1999 Pen and Ink Drawing on paper 18”X12”
Mabella – 1997 Pen and Ink Drawing on paper 18”X12” by Julius C Parker
Behind Rebel Lines – 1999 Pen and Ink Drawing on paper 18”X12” by Julius C Parker