No One Belongs Here More Than You is a collaboration between Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos and Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, New York, and a culmination of an extended stay by three artists of Nigerian descent resident in the United States. The exhibition embodies both a metaphysical crossing of time and space, as well as the relationship of each artist to material.
No One Belongs Here More Than You 2013 Curatorial Statement
Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos is pleased to present in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, New York, No One Belongs Here More Than You, the culmination of an extended stay by three artists of Nigerian descent resident in the United States. As recipients of the prestigious Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellowship Awards, the temporary relocation has afforded artists Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, Wura-Natasha Ogunji and Nnenna Okore the opportunity to engage with their country of origin in a critical moment of their artistic practice as well as their professional development. Working in diverse media – drawing, sculptural installation, performance art, video and photography, they present work that engages with their ideas and notions of belonging, of space and time, of notions of the individual and the collective, highlighting their own responses to this context in a unique and individual manner.
By marking, drawing, snapping, twisting, shredding, tying, dyeing, sewing, by the layering of actions, violent, poetic, by the conversations, loud, public, intimate and above all by the movements and encounters in their current space, the totality of these divergent and converging processes and experiences encapsulate the diverse ways in which they situate themselves and their practice beyond any fixed notion of place or identity allowing them the freedom of artistic, contextual as well as aesthetic possibilities. As artists of Nigerian descent who have spent most of their lives living, migrating and journeying across continents, their individual and collective movements, histories, memories and perspectives integrate to highlight points of intersection and overlapping. No One Belongs Here More Than You embodies both a metaphysical crossing of time and space, as well as the relationship of each artist to materiality. This experience marks the onset of a journey of reintroduction, rediscovery and reconnection to their ancestral place of origin. Inevitably, as the artists navigate the unique nuances of their longitude and latitude, their current artistic explorations are intricately woven into the here and now.
Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze creates large-scale drawings influenced by textile processes, print-making, collage, and architecture which explore themes of authenticity, hybridity and mobility. She is the recipient of several awards and residencies including the Fulbright Scholar Award at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka,2012/13, Artist-in-Residence at Gallery Aferro, Newark, NJ 2012 and the 2011 Artist-in-Residence at Cooper Union School of Art; New York, NY. She has participated in several solo and group exhibitions across the United States and Nigeria. Amanze received her BFA (Summa cum Laude) in photography and fiber/material studies from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia and an inter-disciplinary MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
A performance and visual artist who works in a variety of mediums, Wura-Natasha Ogunji is best known for her videos, in which she uses her body to explore movement and mark-making across water, land and air. Her recent performance series explores the presence of women in public space in Lagos, Nigeria. Ogunji has received a number of awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2012) and grants from the Idea Fund, Houston (2010), and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2005). She has performed at Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, The Menil Collection (Houston) and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts (St. Louis). Ogunji received a BA in Anthropology from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, in 1992 and a MFA in Photography from San Jose State University, CA, in 1998. She lives in Austin and Lagos.
Nnenna Okore is an Associate Professor of Art at North Park University, Chicago. Her works, comprising mainly sculptures and installations have been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries across Chicago, New York City, London, Paris, Cancun, Sao Paulo and Copenhagen. She is a recipient of the 2012 Fulbright Scholar Award; and has also been recognized by the Chicago Tribune, BBC and New York Times, among dozens of media outlets, for the innovative use of materials, textures and colors in her works. Okore received a BA in Painting (First Class Honours) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and an MA and MFA in Sculpture from the University of Iowa in 2004 and 2005.