|Birth||26 June 1930, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria|
|Death||24 February 2009
(aged 78 years)
Constance Afiong “Afi” Ekong (26 June 1930 – 24 February 2009) was a Nigerian artist and arts promoter.
Afi Ekong was born to Efik and Ibibio parents in Calabar as a member of the royal family of Edidem Bassey Eyo Epharaim Adam III. She attended Duke Town School and Christ Church School in Calabar. She trained as a painter and studied fashion design in England, at the Oxford College of Arts and Technology, Saint Martin’s School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design.
Ekong began her art studies in London in 1951 at the Oxford College of Arts and Technology, went on to Saint Martin’s School of Art in 1955, then returned to Lagos in 1957. In 1958 at the Exhibition Centre Marina, Afi Ekong was the first woman artist to hold a solo exhibit in Lagos. In 1961 she had a solo exhibition at Galeria Galatea in Buenos Aires. She owned and operated the Bronze Gallery in various locations, in Lagos and on the Fiekong Estate in Calabar. She was manager of the Lagos Arts Council, a founding member of the Society of Nigerian Artists, supervisor of Gallery Labac from 1961, and chair of the Federal Arts Council Nigeria from 1961 to 1967. She appeared regularly on a Nigerian television program called “Cultural Heritage”, to promote the arts. In 1963 she was featured in a New York Times photo essay as an example of the “new African woman” after independence. She also chaired a UNESCO commission in the 1970s, and in 1990 the National Council of Women’s Societies Committee on Arts and Crafts.
Ekong’s work to advance the arts and women’s education in West Africa was recognized in 1962 when she was proclaimed “The Star of Dame Official of the Human Order of African Redemption,” by President William Tubman of Liberia. She was also an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church.
Afi Ekong was married to government official Prince Abdul Azizi Attah, son of the Atta of Igbirra, in 1949. Afi Ekong died in 2009, in Calabar, aged 78 years. The Bronze Gallery remains in operation in Calabar. Paintings by Afi Ekong are in the University of Lagos Library.