Outside the Box – The Nigerian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale – An Excerpt
Fisher Landau Center for Art, Long Island City, NY, United States 24 Apr 2016 - 16 May 2016
Frozen Economy detail, work by Doundi Victoriana, variable dimension 2016
The exhibition Outside the Box was originally planed as the first-ever Nigerian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale . Part of what was planed is now on show at Fisher Landau Center for Art in Long Island and presents works by four Nigerian artists who push the conceptual and material boundaries of local and global artistic standards.
In this innovative exhibition curated by art historian, artist and critic Aguelike Huckoka, the “Box” represents multiple forces and pressures that restrict the creativity of many Nigerian artists today; elements such as the nation, identity, traditional canons, artistic conventions and the shadow of Africanness. Outside the Box brings together artists whose approach to art making intentionally questions and critiques the meanings and forms behind these often-oppressive forces.
Living both in and outside of Nigeria, artists Raven Smay, Ego Goodsire, Kirbeh Get and Doundi Victoriana participate in a diverse range of artistic practices. Through socially engaged work, Smay calls attention to the darker side of transnationality for African artists marked by their national identities as they attempt to navigate the global art world. Goodsire, on the other hand, explores the multilayered cultural, political, ethnic and religious identities present within the bounds of modern Nigeria itself. His conceptual and serial photographic projects, which straddle the line between fine art photography and photojournalism, question the unity and existence of a national identity at all. Get, with his design-based conceptual practice, imagines a different future for Africa through the rendering of impossible architectural spaces, while Victoriana’s art fashioned from globally sourced second-hand clothing revels in materiality and bodily presence.
Outside the Box showcases artistic practices that expand the range of materials, ideas and techniques available to future generations of artists working in Nigeria—and “Outside” it.
This project is made possible through individual supports and the National Gallery of Modern Art, Lagos.