Wura-Natasha Ogunji
My father and I dance in outer spaceIfe head walks on waterTwoThe epic crossings of an Ife headThe returnbelongingsmarks
videos
My creative works investigate physical, historical and psychic connections between Africa and the Americas via the black female body. Performance is central to the narratives and forms of my work. As such, I use my body to understand and experience acts of return and recollection. In the performance video belongings, for example, concepts of border crossing, migration and immigration emerge as I crawl across the hard earth with water bottles tied to my ankles. I am thinking about the significance, centrality and struggle of the body at a moment when physical belongings are virtually meaningless. With the series The epic crossings of an Ife head I investigate homeland and longing. I ask: ‘Does homeland long for us?’ Taking on the persona of the iconic Nigerian Ife head with painted striations on my face I attempt to walk across water and fly across the land as would an ancestor from Africa seeking her descendants in the Americas. With awkward movement and truncated sounds I move across land, water, and air in an imagined journey across the Atlantic. Stop-motion editing techniques give new sonic and visual language to this story. My work explores the deep knowledge of the body—both ancestral and cellular—and works to access and make visual the gestures, memories and histories therein.
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