School of Art + Design Bachelor of Fine Arts
May 7–15, 2016
Main Level Galleries
Public Opening Reception | May 7, 5–7 pm
The annual exhibition of works by graduates from the School of Art + Design’s BFA program represents the full range of contemporary art and design practices. Exhibiting artists have worked rigorously to develop individual visions and to solve complex problems with cross-disciplinary teams. They have learned trusted methods and forms, but have also challenged conventions; emerging technologies and ideas are seen across various media. This exhibition is but a sample of their efforts and achievements to represent, reflect, and reimagine the world around us.
Zina Saro-Wiwa: Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance?
November 11, 2016–March 25, 2017
Curated by Amy L. Powell, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
Co-presented by Krannert Art Museum and Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston
This exhibition is the first solo museum presentation of works by British-Nigerian video artist and filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa, featuring video installations, photographs, and a sound installation produced in the Niger Delta region of southeastern Nigeria from 2013 to 2015. Drawing upon folklore, masquerade traditions, religious practices, food and Nigerian popular aesthetics, Saro-Wiwa’s work shuttles between documentary and performance, testing art’s capacity to transform and to envision new concepts of environment and environmentalism.
Engaging Niger Delta residents both as subjects and collaborators, Saro-Wiwa cultivates strategies of psychic survival and performance, underscoring the complex and expressive ways in which people live in an area historically fraught with the politics of energy, labor and land. Known for decades for corruption and environmental degradation, the Niger Delta is also a verdant place, an abundant food producer as well as provider of crude oil and natural gas to the entire globe. The United States has until recent years been the largest importer of Nigeria’s oil, while Europe and India are now the top destinations. Returning to this contested region—the place of her birth—Saro-Wiwa insinuates herself as a transformative force ingesting and disgorging the stuff of tradition and of psycho-social dynamics to produce new origin narratives. Her new work makes visible the cultural, spiritual and emotional powers propelling the Niger Delta and its connections as a global energy capital.
An accompanying catalogue features recipe-stories by Saro-Wiwa alongside essays by curator Amy L. Powell, environmental cultural studies scholar Stephanie LeMenager, and writer Taiye Selasi, with a conversation between the artist and art historian Chika Okeke-Agulu. Niger Delta historian Ebiegberi Joe Alagoa contributes a guest foreword. The exhibition and catalogue are made possible by the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Krannert Art Museum
Photo by Kathryn Koca Polite