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Nnenna Okore was born in Australia but at the age of 4 she moved to Nigeria with her parents who were academics. She received the First Prize for the African Child Art Competition, organized by UNESCO in 1993 and in 1995 won the UNIFEM Women’s Empowerment Art Competition, which included trips to Dakar, Senegal, and Beijing, China, to represent African youth in the Women’s World Conferences. She earned her B.A. degree in Painting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (First Class Honors) in 1999, where she received guidance from Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, who helped her broaden her scope beyond painting and begin to think in terms of creating three dimensional objects and more experimental art.