Episode No. 203 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Zina Saro-Wiwa.
The Blaffer Art Museum opens “Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance?”, Zina Saro-Wiwa’s first solo American museum exhibition on Saturday. It will feature Saro-Wiwa’s recent videos, photographs and a sound installation, all made in the Niger delta region of Nigeria between 2013 and this year. The show is organized by Amy L. Powell and will be on view at the Blaffer through December 19. It will then travel to the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois.
Saro-Wiwa is a British-Nigerian artist whose work uses Niger culture — from its food to traditional arts such as masquerade to Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry that by some measures is the most productive in the world — to address issues related to colonialism, environmental degradation caused by the oil industry and more. In the United States, Saro-Wiwa’s work has been shown at the New Museum, the Menil Collection, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and her documentary “This is Africa” was shown on HBO. She is included in the exhibition “Disguise: Masks and Global African Art,” which just closed at the Seattle Art Museum and that opens at the Fowler Museum at UCLA on October 18 before traveling to the Brooklyn Museum. Next year her work will be screened at the Tate Britain.
In 2013 Saro-Wiwa opened Boys’ Quarters Project Space in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. BQPS is an art gallery where Saro-Wiwa exhibits both Nigerian and non-Nigerian artists. BQPS includes a space called the Windowall Gallery, where Saro-Wiwa exhibits material related to the life and activism of her father, Ken Saro-Wiwa. He was executed by Nigeria’s military dictatorship in 1995.
On this week’s program, Saro-Wiwa references the sand paintings of Charles Udofia, which are on view at BQPS now, and the exhibition she organized in 2010 titled “Sharon Stone in Abuja.” In included Mickalene Thomas and Wangechi Mutu, two previous MAN Podcast guests.
Air date: September 24, 2015.
Blaffer Art Museum trailer for “Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance?”
Zina Saro-Wiwa, The Deliverance of Comfort, 2010.
Zina Saro-Wiwa, Phyllis, 2010.
Zina Saro-Wiwa, Table Manners #1: Felix Eats Garri & Egusi Soup, 2014.
Zina Saro-Wiwa, Table Manners #2: Barisuka Eats Roasted Ice Fish and Mu, 2014.
Zina Saro-Wiwa, Excerpts from Ken’s Book Shelf, 2013.