Notes for teachers

Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy was born in Awka, in Eastern Nigeria in Africa. Her mother was a nurse. Her father was a wealthy businessman. At the age of 12, her school life was seriously disrupted by the bloody civil war in Biafra, which raged from 1967 to 1970.

"I cannot bear to say what I saw and heard," says Chinwe. "My best friend Nwabulachi and hundreds of children were killed. Food was scarce. The market women bravely set up food stalls under large trees. The planes swooped overhead and rained bombs on them."

Chinwe survived, only to be struck down by a life-threatening illness, which was eventually diagnosed as a neuromuscular disease. A series of injections saved her life. From her earliest years, she wanted to be an artist, but art was not taught in Nigeria at that time. She travelled to England in 1975 and successfully completed a course in graphic design at Hornsey College of Art, after which she married and settled in England.

With two young sons to look after, Chinwe painted portraits of friends and family. She works in oil and pastels and sculpts in clay. Then she met Kriss Akabusi, the world famous sports gold medallist, and painted his portrait. What followed was a series of successes. Now she has achieved the highest honour in portrait painting. In 2001, Chinwe was commissioned to paint a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen.

The story on page 7 is adapted from Chinwe Roy - Artist by Verna Wilkins (Tamarind, pound;6.99). Other titles in the same series include: Benjamin Zephaniah - Poet and Malorie Blackman - Author.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you