Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Nnenna Okore's solo exhibition debuts on the 16th Oct 08 at October Gallery, London

I am happy to share the information about Nnenna's forthcoming London solo exhibition Ulukububa- Infinite Flow on Thursday 16th of October 2008, 6.00-8.30pm at The October Gallery, London. I met Nnenna about 8yrs ago at an group exhibition she had organised in Lagos. I was on one of my holiday visits from the UK. Her works in that exhibition were not very exciting paintings but on a visit to Nsukka, Prof El Anatsui took me to her house where I saw her tentative but experimental sculptural pieces. They signal interesting developments for the future and I made a mental note to keep up with her work. At that time she was trying to decide what to do for her MA - go into curating as she enjoyed organising exhibitions or continue with her art. I remember it was during the period of the Lecture series I organised in 2000/2001 and Katy Deepwell, the British feminist art historian who was the guest speaker also visited her (somehow our visit was separately) and encouraged her to continue with her art as more young African women artists needed to be encouraged. True but I was more interested in encouraging her to do an MA in curatorial practice as they were few trained or established African curators. I guess in her confusion she chose her art. I am glad she did.

Finally I had the opportunity to work with during the 2006 Dakar biennale of which I was a co-curator. I add below the short artist text i wrote about her work for Dakar.

Nnenna Okore manipulates discarded paper by weaving, braiding, twisting, dying and roping to create intricate sculptural installation. Her preoccupation with recycled materials developed as she watched children transform scrap metal into playing objects, such as miniature cars and dolls’ houses, and market women wrapping their goods in found newspapers. These impoverished communities recycling habits have become part of their unconscious existence.

Childhood fascination with the use of fabricated and found material in her community has developed into experimentation with process and material in her art. Bridges of Communication comprises stacked waxed pages and sticks, which from a distance looks like a bed of reddish plastic materials grouped on top of a bunch of vertical sticks. A closer look reveals the red materials as yellow phonebook pages, stained with Nigerian indigenous dyes, and evenly covered in red wax. Currently based in America, Nnenna Okore is appalled by the amount of waste produced in relation to the scarcity in Third World countries. Her interest in highlighting the abuse and misuse of resources practiced by wealthier societies results in stimulating visual and textural effects that not only celebrate the material but also entice viewers to unravel the composition and assemblage of her work.

Nnenna Okore was born in 1975 in Australia.She graduated from the University of Nsukka, Nigeria, with a BA (first class) in painting and as the Faculty of Fine and Applied Art Valedictorian in 1999. She received her MFA in sculpture in 2005 from the University of Iowa, USA.

Ulukububa- Infinite Flow solo exhibition in London is an important landmark in her career after what I learnt was a successful solo outing in New York in 2007. Nnenna next destination - Nigeria please.
The press information from October Gallery states that:
Nnenna Okore
is a shining new talent at the forefront of Nigeria’s emerging generation of conceptual artists. Working with clay, wire, wax, rope and newspaper, she creates highly tactile wall sculptures. Her organically textured installations create intimate architectural spaces and shelters, encouraging the viewer to ‘inhabit’ and socially engage with the object. Okore first studied at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, under celebrated sculptor El Anatsui. She is currently Assistant Professor of Art at North Park University, Chicago. Her work was recently exhibited at Channel 4’s headquarters and is included in the inaugural exhibition 'Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary', at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York.

The exhibition will be opened by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, at 7.15pm.

October Gallery
24 Old Gloucester Street

, WC1N 3AL
(t) 020 7242 7367
(f) 020 7405 1851


Blogger drivenwide said...

We are thrilled that this solo Ulukububa- Infinite Flow exhibition has garnered passionate opinions on art and culture from the most unlikely sources and that is what good art should do. However, we would encourage to visit the exhibition before making any further comments.
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13 October 2008 at 11:00  

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