- Materials: Wood, cowries, electric steel
- Dimensions: 194cm x 109cm x 139cm
- Housed: Artco, Germany
Exhibited in: Black President : The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
Fela’s music was very sexy and when I think of his concerts I think of the women in his band, dancing and gyrating to the beat, scantily dressed in woven fabric and painted with fluorescent colours and beads. They were symbols of African beauties. Fela married all of these women to give them respect and sense of pride, marrying them all at the same time to eliminate the sentiment of whom was senior to another. When he did this it was spectacular because there were so many of them; twenty-three in total. People found it amusing but I thought it was wonderful and inventive. Looking at the idea of using Fela’s women to convey his spirit is apt because they gave life to his concerts. I am using cowries in the sculpture to make their costumes. Cowries in Nigeria are used as currency and for magical purposes. My sculpture will therefore be a fetish of some kind. A tall gyrating structure decorated with cowries and motorised. Fela was a symbol of West African style he had so much power but all of his strength could not save him from AIDS. This is a contemporary plight. I would like to convey his dynamism and power, his vulnerability in death and the irony of life. ‘If you say African woman na woman, she go say- she go say aah I be lady oh’.
- Materials: Steel and fabric
- Dimensions: 141cm x 51cm x 60cm
- Housed: Indiana State University
Sharia Fubara was made in a ten day residency in Indiana State University. At this time there was a new instrument that was being imported into Nigeria that cut off thieves’ hand more easily. I felt very threatened by this punishment for stealing and made this sculpture to remember this movement in Nigeria’s history. Duein Fubara is traditional Kalabari sculpture that commemorates the achievements of our ancestors; it is normally very flat and resembles a formal photograph. Being in America and remembering cheerleaders with their pom pom’s I included red fabric in the sculpture to resemble a stream of blood.
- Materials: Steel, oil, acetate, glass
- Dimensions: 41cm high
- Housed: Sold to private buyer
Close to My Heart is connected to a series of work that is about photography and life in the Niger Delta.
There is a photograph of flames from an oil well sandwiched in glass container which has oil in it. This is held by a woman dressed in traditional costume as if showing off something important.
Kalabari people generally display photographs in public when someone close has died. (The dead person is shown in good health in an enlarged photograph). Generally the person holding the photograph is related to the deceased. There is an added emotion for the observer when they see the connection in the resemblance of the displayed image and the person carrying it.
It is the emotional content of holding such a photograph which is also my home (I am Kalabari) which inspired this work. My peoples’ health is being damaged and our environment is being polluted by the extraction of oil in this manner. As a piece of work, I like the combination of old and new. Acetate, oil, glass added to a traditional African woman. This combination is very real for me as an African living in these changing times. Nothing stays still.
Discussing this work with Sokari she mentioned that she was embarrassed by the title, perhaps it was too romantic, too soppy. She could not be further from the truth. The title like the sculpture has a poignancy which goes beyond the romantic.
- Materials: Steel and electric motor
- Dimensions: 155cm high
- Housed: Held by artist
Exhibited in: Knots Of The Human Heart
Freud – White Sacrifice was commissioned and exhibited in a group show alongside work from automata artists selected by the film director Terry Gilliam. The show was to celebrate objects from this millennium in preparation for the next.
The brief for the show was set by Terry Gilliam who chose objects that he thought had most affected the lives of people during the 20th century. My ‘object’, which was picked out of hat, was a post card of Freud’s psychiatrists couch. Freud – White Sacrifice is trying to show letting go, madness. Two people freaking out over inner feelings and yet they are in a room, a confined space both fixed to a chair and a couch in close proximity.
It has always stuck me that the positioning of the chair in relation to the couch is peculiar. A situation that is supposed to be intimate but in reality is quite the reverse. As the psychiatrist listens to the patients problems he is pretending not to be there whilst the patient is at the same time desperately trying to reveal their inner most feelings.
I would like to show in my work that the psychiatrist’s couch is an area where you can freak out and let your hair down.
Psychoanalyses is a modern tonic and is particular to Westerners / white people.