Pius Utomi EkpeiPius Utomi Ekpei, a topflight artist and photojournalist was born May 5, 1962 at Ebu Town, Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State in Nigeria. Early in life, his interest in drawing and oil painting indicated a strong direction of his future endeavour. His march to professional and academic excellence in photojournalism began with his training at the Kenn Professional Studio, Apapa in 1976. He attended Apapa Baptist School, Apapa and Nigerian Model High School, Idi oro both in Lagos, for his General Certificate for Education, Ordinary and Advanced Levels. He studied at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in Lagos and obtained a diploma in journalism. He also studied photojournalism at the University of Missouri, School of Journalism, Columbia, Missouri, USA in 1989. He holds Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in English (1997-02), Master degree in Public and International Affairs (2005-2007), Master in English Literature (2008-2009), all from the university of Lagos, and Postgraduate Diploma in Theology in 2011.
He started his career as a photojournalist with Daily Times in 1982, and later joined the Guardian newpapers in 1986, where his potentials and photojournalistic skills manifested with his catchy and timeless pictures. His brilliant career culminated in his being chosen as the Willie Vicoy Reuter Fellow in 1989. The prestigious award placed him on record as the first African recipient of the international fellowship in photojournalism and the third at the inception of the award in 1987. His job experience include his career as a staff photographer with the Columbia Missourian, USA in 1989; freelance for Reuters (1989-1990); photo editor, The Sunday Magazine (1990-1992); editor, photography, The Independent Weekly (1992-1996); owner, Rangefinder Nigeria Ltd, and presently work for the international press Agence France Presse (AFP) in Nigeria.
Ekpei, a veteran of the industry for over three decades has travelled widely either as an artist photographer or as a photojournalist. His works as vividly as the events occured, such as the Liberian War in 2003, FIFA 2006 World Cup in Germany, Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria, the unrest in Niger Delta, elections in Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria; the entertainment industry, fashion and tourism portray his mastery of the craft. Following his maiden one-man exhibition Just As We Are in 1989, he has had several solo and group exhibitions both at home and abroad. This includes University of Missouri yearly workshop exhibition at Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, USA (1989); Fourth Havana Biennial, Cuba (1991); Land and Water, a joint exhibition with Italian Ezio Quiresi at the Istituto di Cultura (1993); Contemporary Nigeria Art exhibition at WIPO headquarters in Geneva (1995) etc. He is a consultant to local and international institutions.


.  PG Dip (Theology) 2011
. University of Lagos; M.A. Literature (2008-2009)
. University of Lagos; Master of Public and International Affairs (MPIA) (2005-2007)
. University of Lagos; B.A. (Hons) English (1997-02)
. Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ); Diploma, Journalism (1997)
. University of Missouri, Columbia-Missouri, USA; Photojournalism (1989)
. Nigerian Model High School, Idi-oro, Lagos (1992-193)
. Apapa Baptist School, Apapa, Lagos (1979-82)
. Kenn Photographic Studio, Apapa, Lagos (1976-80)
. Mushin Town Council School, Eleja Itire, Surulere, Lagos (1971-1976)


. Member, Board of Directors, Rangefinder (Nig.) Ltd.  (1996 till date)
. Reporter-Photographer, Agence France Presse  (AFP) (1998 till date)
. Editor, Photography, The Independent (1992-96)
. Photo Editor, The Sunday Magazine (TSM) (1990-92)
. Staff Photographer, The Missourian, USA (1989)
. Senior Photographer, The Guardian on Sunday (1986-90)
. Staff Photographer, Daily Times (1982-86)


. NPPA Flying Short Course, Minneapolis St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, 1989
. 41st University of Missouri Photo Workshop, Maryville, Missouri, USA, 1989


. Workshop Paper presented titled “Different Ways of Seeing”: In-house workshop for editorial staff, including online editors and photojournalists organised by management of Daily Trust Newspapers, Abuja  (2015)
. Paper presented titled: “The Influence of Social Media on Today’s Youth” to mark Children’s Day celebration held at Christower International Schools, Ibafo, Ogun State (2014)
.  Guest speaker, Media Relations Training of the Trainers Course organised by Enable in Abuja, 2010
. External Examiner, Certificate course in Photojournalism course Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos (2008).
.External Examiner, Certificate course in Photojournalism at the Nigerian Institute of    Journalism, Lagos 2006
. Member Screening Committee for participants at the World Press Photo Foundation/Nigerian Institute of Journalism workshop in Lagos, 2005
. Workshop Paper presented titled: “Going into Photography” at the 1st Annual Fotoface Seminar workshop and photo exhibition at the French Cultural Centre in Lagos, 2004
. Guest speaker, PG Dip Class, Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, 2002
. Workshop Paper presented titled, “The Photojournalist and the Nigerian Child” organised by UNICEF in Lagos, 2002
. Resource person, quarterly photo workshop organised by Kodak International in Nigeria, 1999/2000


. Executive member (Publicity), Nigeria Yachting Federation (1997-98)
. Chairman, Editorial Board, and Editor, Boating and Leisure, official newsletter of NYF


. Highly Commended (African Category) Commonwealth Photographic Awards (2007)
. Runners-up (African Zone): FiftyCrows Fund for documentary photography, San- Francisco, CA. USA (2003)
. Willie Vicoy Reuter Fellowship in Photojournalism (1989). The first African recipient and the third at the inception of the award.
. Two prizes at the National Photo festival (1989)


Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)


One-man Show:
. Just As We Are – Pictorial Illustration of the Mood of the Times, Lagos (1989)
. Celebration – Lagos Yacht Club, Onikan, Lagos (1989)


. First Annual Fotoface exhibition at the French Cultural Centre, Lagos (2004)
. First National Creativity Day, Lagos (1995)
. Contemporary Nigeria Art Exhibition, World Intellectual Property Organisation Headquaters, Geneva (1995)
. Land &Waters –A joint exhibition with Italian Ezio Quiresi, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Lagos (1993)
. Fourth Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba (1991)
. 41st MU Workshop exhibition, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Missouri, USA (1989)
. North-South-Gap in the View of Artists – A Circus Theatre Federlos Circus Tour, Berlin, Germany; Paris, France; Geneva, Switzerland; Lagos, Nigeria (1994)
. The Guardian 5th Anniversary Exhibition, Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos (1989)


. Pictures for the Mid-Term Review Exhibition: UNICEF/FGN Country Programme Implementation (1999)
. Pictures showing manifestations of River Blindness Disease in Nigeria (1999)
. Documentation of UNICEF Assisted Projects in Nigeria (1995)
. Documentation, development of images and co-ordination of UNICEF exhibition during the African Summit on Roll Back Malaria, Abuja (2000)

National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC)
. Documentation of 12th National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) Abeokuta, Ogun State (1995)
. Documentation of 13th National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) Jos, Plateau State (1996)
. Documentation of 14th National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) FCT, Abuja (1997)



. Voices from Within (2005).  Essays on Nigerian Journalism in honour of Sam Amuka, edited by Lanre Idowu. Lagos. Diamond Publications Ltd. Pg 63
. A Compendium of Journalists in Nigeria (2003). Pg 53
. L’ Art Africain Contemporain by Nicole Guez ( First edition 1992-94,  & Second edition 1996)
. Media World Year Book, Nigeria (All editions)
. The Reuter Foundation Contacts Directory, London


. Last Rites Niger Delta.  Christine Stelzig, Eva Ursprung. Munchen, 2011
The Drama of Oil Production in Contemporary Photographs
. African Green City Index. Munich: Siemens AG, 2011

. Nigeria AT 50 – A Compendium. 1st October Publishing  2010
The official book about Nigeria
. Discover Nigeria by Paula Sofowora, Essex: Amlap Publishing, 2008


.Just As We Are. Lagos: Academy Press Ltd., 1989
.The Practice of Photojournalism in Nigeria (In View)


Listening to good music