Ndidi Dike: Waka-into-Bondage: The Last ¾ mile

2 February – 15 March 2008

Waka-into-Bondage:The last ¾ mile by Nigerian Artist Ndidi Dike presents the second part of Democrazy, the inaugural curatorial project of the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos. Fela, Ghariokwu Lemi and The Art of the Album Cover, the first exhibition paid tribute to the internationally acclaimed Afro-Beat musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and acknowledges his uncompromising fight for democracy for Nigerians and Africans, the second, Waka-into-Bondage takes the history and the legacy of slavery as its point of departure. Dike’s recent project takes the form of a sculptural installation signalling a turning point in her artistic practice. Well known for her wood sculpted totem poles – traditionally the preserve of male sculptors within Nigerian society – and her wall hanging wood reliefs, in 2004 after over a decade of transgressive sculptural practice Dike successfully added painting to her artistic repertoire.

In Waka-into-Bondage, the evolution of Dike’s work takes on a more conceptual framework liberated from spatial constraints both physical and mental to actualise ideas researched over a considerable period such as the effect of slavery on the local population, in this case the coastal town of Badagry. Using ‘loaded’ symbols, she presents two large carved wooden boats, one covered and filled with sugar, the other filled with blood red liquid. In coalescing the evocative potential of her materials attraction turns to repulsion as Dike attempts to trigger traces and memories of our forebearers as they walked the last ¾ mile from Gbereful Island past the point of no return towards the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ndidi Dike is a visual artist working in sculpture and mixed media painting. She graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka with a Diploma in Music Education (Voice) followed by a B.A Fine and Applied Arts in 1984 (major Mixed Media Painting).

Dike has participated in several solo and group exhibitions in Nigeria, Africa and internationally, including Women to Women, Weaving Cultures, Shaping History (2000) University Art Gallery, Indiana State University, Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa (1995) Whitechapel Gallery, London, She is a member of the Guild of Fine Arts, Nigeria (GFAN) and Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA). Her work is to be found in public and private collections in Nigeria and Abroad.

Curator Bisi Silva. Images:Courtesy CCA,Lagos.

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