The recent works by Nigerian-American artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji's from her series Statues Also Love draw inspiration from the artist's daily interactions in the city of Lagos, Nigeria.
The drawings -delicate stitched works on paper- speak about moments of beauty that arise from the constant motion and sound of the city. Within the charged density of the megalopolis Ogunji takes note of the human capacity to connect in both tender and magical ways. Ife heads, Gelede masks and Olmec-faced figures suggest the ways in which the sacred and profane, the traditional and futuristic exist simultaneously in all moments.
Performance is very much part of Wura-Natasha Ogunji’s practice and she has been exploring the same theme as in the drawings in performances acted in Lagos and in London. Two masked performers who alternatively kiss and show affection, then struggle and fight. Their interactions are at once violent and sensual, a fluctuation that happens against the backdrop of an audio score created in Lagos. The sound moves between the rising volume of generators and the whistle-like sound that fills the air and signals the return of electricity to the metropolis. The performance explores the ebb and flow of daily life tensions through these dueling masked figures whose actions are all but determined by the charged audio score of the megacity.
Cheetahs White Orchids, 2014. Thread, ink, graphite on trace paper, 58 x 60 cm