On Saturday the 1st of April, 2017, SMO Contemporary Art organised an Artist talk with Wura-Natasha Ogunji. The event which held at Temple Muse in Victoria Island, Lagos, was an afternoon of stimulating conversations with Wura as she explored the contradictions experienced through “dreams,reveries and imagination” often referencing the daily interactions and frequencies that occur in the megacity of Lagos.
It was an intimate event with a bigger external audience via social media as the event was broadcast live giving room for audiences from other parts of Nigeria as well as other countries to be a part of the conversation. Ogunji, who was in conversation with Papa Omotayo, the creative consultant and founder of A White Space Creative Agency, was very gisty and the discussion covered a broad range of topics from her artistic style, her thoughts on the term ‘Africaness’, to her works on display at the exhibition Expansion of Time, also featuring works by Artist, Raoul Olawale Da Silva. Expansion of Time is currently showing at Temple Muse.
When asked about the materials she works with and why she chose to work with architectural paper in her present pieces, Wura explained that when people ask artists why they do what they do, one of the most important things to note is that some of these decisions are not thought out. In her words “…It’s kinda like falling in love; there’s a joy or you’re just compelled or drawn to this type of colour…”
Speaking about the pieces in her present exhibition Expansion of Time, and the key use of architectural paper and threading, she explained “The feeling of sewing on paper, I just love it! and that paper is translucent so it has that filmic feel to it and I love film… I started out as photographer. I compose filmically… [also] I’ve always liked threads but not traditional sewing and drawing gets a little bit awkward…”
To listen to the full talk, Go here
Ogunji uses strong cultural iconography, such as familiar Ife head sculptures inserted into modern conversations and spaces, connecting past and present. Her exploration of physicality, endurance and gestures of the body is expressed through her drawings, performances, and videos which she also discussed at the event. Guests got a chance to ask questions and also view her works which are on display at Temple Muse until the 28th of April, 2017.
Wura-Natasha OGUNJI (born 1970) is a visual artist and performer. Her works include drawings, videos, and public performances which explore physicality, endurance and gestures of the body as well as our relationship to memory, history and impossible moments in time. Her hand-stitched drawings, made on architectural trace paper, often reference the daily interactions and frequencies that occur in the city of Lagos. Ogunji has received numerous awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2012) and grants from the Idea Fund, Houston (2010), and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2005). She has had exhibitions and performed in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America including at The Menil Collection (Houston), The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts (St. Louis), the National Performance Network (New Orleans), the Seattle Art Museum, MoCADA (New York), and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Ogunji received a BA in Anthropology from Stanford University in 1992 and a MFA in Photography from San Jose State University in 1998.
Photo Credit: SMO Contemporary Art