Ogoni 9 by artist Chiizii, presents two large-scale paper collages focusing on the Ogoni people in south-eastern Nigeria.
In 1995, a group of activists (Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine) known collectively as the Ogoni Nine were killed by the Nigerian government after protesting the exploitation and degradation of their land by British oil companies.
Ogoni Past (2020) commemorates this event with images of the activists protesting oil drilling. Depictions of water fetching, boating and a water prohibition notice highlight the breakdown of the healthy connection the Ogoni people once had to water. The flag of Ogoniland and a layered background illustrate the lush vegetation and rainforests native to their land, which have all been subject to exploitation.
Ogoni Future (2020) imagines what leisure and land restoration could look like to the Ogoni people. The collage depicts fresh water, boats filled with palm fruit, coconuts and palm trees. The Fresh Air package signifies cleaner air, with surrounding images of people diving and playing in celebration.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Chiizii is an interdisciplinary artist, designer and researcher, who was born in London and raised in New York and Igbo. Working heavily with but not limited to painting, collage and textile design, her work is centred around the specificities of Igbo, Nigerian and African experiences and histories.
Her current research ‘Nni Bu Ogwu (Food is Medicine)’, a pilot Digital Research Residency at the Yinka Shonibare Foundation, aims to establish the significance of art in the communication and maintenance of Igbo food culture, as well as the use of making art as a learning method and presenting art as a teaching method.
Recent shows include 1-54 London, Somerset House, London (2022), RA Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London (2021) and Collective Processes Gucci Circolo, London (2021).