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Video Art and Talk (Poetry) 002 Wura Natasha Ogunji and Adrienne Rich

Date of screening/ event: Saturday 27 April 2019

Time: 3pm onwards

Venue: A Walk space 3789, Oka-Akoko st, (off lagos street) Garki II, Abuja, Nigeria

On Saturday we will be engaging with Lagos based artist Wura Natasha Ogunji’s video works “The Epic crossings of an Ife Head” (2009) and “Two” (2010). These works will be considered alone but also in a pair with poet, essayist and feminist Adrienne Rich’s poem “Planeterium” that begins “ A woman in the shape of a monster, a monster in the shape of a woman, the skies are full of them…”  “Planetarium” is a forty-five-line poem in free verse that was prompted by a visit to a planetarium during which Adrienne Rich read about the work of astronomer Caroline Herschel. Come join us!

The epic crossings of an Ife head (2009)

single-channel digital video | color, sound | 2 minutes, 5 seconds

The epic crossings of an Ife head emerged from the question: Does homeland long for us? This work visualizes the journey of a Nigerian Ife head who longs for her descendents in the Americas. Ogunji paints her face to suggest the facial markings of this artifact and then makes the difficult attempt to fly. Her stop-motion animation techniques give the viewer a sense of strained movement and flight with a journey that is marked by truncated breathing and cacophonous sounds as she flies through the air in search of history and the future.

Two (2010)

single-channel digital video | color, sound | 1 minute, 13 seconds

Building upon other works in the Ife heads series, Two visualizes the experience of contact between two Ife heads who unexpectedly find each other. Their meeting reveals the sonics and gestures of going back into history to discover one’s reflection when you thought you were the only one.  

Bio: Wura-Natasha Ogunji is a visual artist and performer. Her works include hand-stitched drawings, videos and public performances.  Recent exhibitions include A Slice through the World: Contemporary Artists’ Drawings at Modern Art Oxford and Every Mask I Ever Loved at ifa-Galerie, Berlin. She was an Artist-Curator for the 33rd São Paulo Bienal and has exhibited at: the inaugural Lagos Biennial; Kochi-Muziris Biennale; 1:54, London & New York; Seattle Art Museum; Brooklyn Art Museum; and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. Ogunji is a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and has received grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Dallas Museum of Art; and the Idea Fund. She has a BA from Stanford University [1992, Anthropology] and an MFA from San Jose State University [1998, Photography].  She resides in Lagos where she is.

“Planetarium” here:

Bio:” During her life, poet and essayist Adrienne Rich was one of America’s foremost public intellectuals. Widely read and hugely influential, Rich’s career spanned seven decades and has hewed closely to the story of post-war American poetry itself. Her earliest work, including A Change of World (1951) which won the prestigious Yale Younger Poets Award, was formally exact and decorous, while her work of the late 1960s and 70s became increasingly radical in both its free-verse form and feminist and political content. Rich’s metamorphosis was summed up by Carol Muske-Dukes in the New York Times Book Review; Muske wrote that Rich began as a “polite copyist of Yeats and Auden, wife and mother. She has progressed in life (and in her poems …) from young widow and disenchanted formalist, to spiritual and rhetorical convalescent, to feminist leader … and doyenne of a newly-defined female literature.” Her poetry of the 1970s and 1980s serve as central texts for the second-wave feminist movement. When she died in 2012, she was one of the most respected American poets.”  bio taken from Poetry