Nigeria at the 57th Venice Biennale
From May 13 to November 26, 2017, Victor Ehikhamenor, Peju Alatise, Qudus Onikeku and Wana Udobang, will represent Nigeria at the 57th Venice Biennale Viva Arte Viva at the pavilions located in the Giardini and the Arsenale in Venice’s historic centre.
Victor Ehikhamenor was born in Udomi-Uwessan, Edo State, Nigeria. He is an award winning visual artist, writer and photographer who draws influences from traditional African motifs and cosmology. Ehikhamenor’s exhibition, The Biography of the Forgotten will comprise large-scale installations fusing abstract shapes with traditional sculpture, informed by an investment in classical Benin art and the effect of colonialism on cultural heritage. It pays homage to those that came before, their contributions to the art world, from the classicists to the modernists. He lives in Nigeria and the United States.
Mixed-media artist Peju Alatise has a degree in architecture and is also a skilled poet and writer, with several novels in publication. Alatise has practiced as a studio artist for over thirteen years and has addressed several social, political and gender issues. Her works have also captured the joys and pains of womanhood as experienced in modern-life-African traditions with their consequences. Her subject matter has evolved with her continued experiences moving her focus from advocating the equal rights of women to politics and philosophical inclination. Alatise has held several solo exhibitions and her works are in private and institutional collections around the world. Alatise’s exhibition Flying Girls, is an installation of eight winged life-size girls, based on the story of a ten-year old girl who works as a housemaid in Lagos while dreaming of a realm where she is free, who belongs to no one but herself, and can fly. It addresses the injustice of the present, but through a vision of a safer imaginary future, especially for little girls.
Qudus Onikeku creates movement identity that fuses dance and acrobatics. He makes the Yoruba traditional culture his basis, combining it with several other influences such as the guiding philosophies of hip hop, capoeira, and contemporary dance, to weave a certain understanding of the human condition. Onikeku’s exhibition Right Here, Right Now, is a trilogy of performance film and an investigation through dance of the workings of body memory and its connection to national consciousness. Right Here, Right Now, will be a triptych-of engagement, of contemplation, and of poetry. Also, it will provide a window through which time could be altered for a brief moment.
Wana Udobang is a multimedia journalist, poet and filmmaker whose work is at the intersection of women’s rights, personal narratives, culture and the arts. Her short film series, ROOM 313 has gained wide recognition. She has worked with the BBC Radio4, BBC world service, 92.3 Inspiration FM and Resonance FM. Her work has been featured on Aljazeera, Guardian UK, Guardian Nigeria, Index on Censorship, Brittle Paper, and the Huffington Post. In 2016, she was long-listed for the One World Media award in the Women’s rights in Africa for her story on the Mirabel rape crisis centre for Aljazeera. She is a recipient of the International Reporting Project (IRP) fellowship and the Gabriel Garcia Marquez fellowship.
The Nigerian Pavilion in Venice is curated by Adenrele Sonariwo and Emmanuel Iduma, and commissioned by Godwin Obaseki (Governor of Edo State), with the support of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
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