Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Generators, 2014

Com Wura-Natasha Ogunji, there is no distance between project and action, nor between thinking and moving, even if it is between continents. Living in Austin and Lagos, the African American is one of the most active artists of her generation. She works simultaneously on several artistic fronts and in two countries: the United States and Nigeria. She is part of the movement of the first generation of visual artists from the African diaspora.

Performer, designer and video artist, at age 48, will act as curator artist in the project Always never at the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo, which exclusively covers commissioned works. There are six artists invited by her: the South African Lhola Amira, the French Mame-Diarra Niang, the North American Nicole Vlado, the Nigerian Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze and the Lebanese Youmna Chlala who join her in a collaborative and horizontal curatorial process. The production of these artists “conciliates intimate aspects, such as the body, memory and epic gestures, such as architecture, history and the nation”, explains Wura-Natasha.

“Our individual projects encompass different practices and languages, which converge on ideas and crucial issues for experimentation, freedom and the creative process”, he says. The work of these artists is affected by their individual histories and the complex relationships they have with their origins. “His works break the hegemonic narratives”, comments the curator artist.

Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Generators, 2014
Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Generators, 2014

By making use of all available supports, Waru-Natasha critically uses embroidery, an almost exclusively female activity, to create comments on contemporary Nigerian society and highlights the role of women in shaping cultural criticism. Impressed by the way Nigerians negotiate using few or no words and how simple gestures incite action, she tries to demonstrate in her work what is not said. These works with complex and dreamlike scenes executed on paper, similar to cloth, reveal delicate drawings that seem ethereal.

Multiple and circumstantial artist, Wura-Natasha invents several subjects that are juxtaposed in the same scenario. Her works have a relationship with reality, but are linked to the desire that inhabits the world of experiences. The magnitude of her performances is expressed through physicality, resistance, body gestures and the relationship with geographic space, as well as memory and history. The movement of the body has the power to evoke the senses with a purpose that transcends them. Wura-Natasha in some performances highlights the relationship between the body and social power, investigating how women, in particular, occupy space through epic or common actions. Her works include drawings, videos and public presentations, and the most pertinent research discusses the presence of women in public space in Lagos. One of her best-known performances, sweep, was originally performed during his first visit to Nigeria. This work has already been carried out in several countries, deepening her thinking about the presence of women within these societies and exploring the notion of identity, homeland and diaspora. In this quest for continuous presence, Waru-Natasha sticks to women's rights by experiencing them in two different societies. One of her exhibitions was accompanied by a folder remembering Angela Davis, in 1985, when she stated: “There are striking parallels between sexual violence against women and colonial violence against people and nations”.

Wura-Natasha's strong presence at the Bienal de São Paulo will certainly be inspiring, in a dark time when impunity for the murderers of Marielle, also an active Afro-descendant, remains without a deadline for a solution, as justice has shown. Brazilian.

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