LONDON.- New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham, opens Sokari Douglas Camps exhibition Strength of Feeling on the 13th anniversary of the deaths of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight Ogoni colleagues. The major new £5million contemporary arts centre will show a ten-year survey of the acclaimed Nigerian-born artists work, including a life-size steel bus parked on the forecourt of the building and large scale sculptures throughout the gallery.
On November 10th 1995 Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his Ogoni colleagues were executed by the Nigerian military government for their campaign against the environmental and social devastation caused by oil companies, including Shell and Chevron, in the Niger Delta. Sculptor Sokari Douglas Camp was commissioned by Remember Saro-Wiwa/PLATFORM to create a Living Memorial; a spectacular Nigerian steel bus, sprayed silver and gold, carved with the names of the Ogoni nine and a powerful quotation from Ken: I ACCUSE THE OIL COMPANIES OF PRACTISING GENOCIDE AGAINST THE OGONI.
Sokari Douglas Camps primary material is steel and her work often explores her relationship to contemporary Nigeria and Britain. Strength of Feeling will exhibit existing and new pieces in the main gallery, exploring the resonant themes of race, racism, gender issues, exploitation and violence that all surface in her practice. An Untitled new piece has been created as part of this years Big Draw.
NAE took part in The Big Draw Campaign 2008 on Thursday 23rd & Friday 24th October when Douglas Camp worked outside the centre, creating a new metal drawing, using arc welding and plasma cutting equipment, which will be on show as part of Strength of Feeling.
The Living Memorial will become a venue in itself on Saturday 29th November, as NAE and Remember Saro-Wiwa present a day of contemporary African films and documentaries screened inside the Ken Saro-Wiwa bus.
Juxtaposing Douglas Camps work NAE will be simultaneously be exhibiting Red from Anthony Jadunath in the mezzanine gallery. Often described as an Outsider Artist, Jadunath would accept this reflects his current position in the art world. Jadunath is severely disabled as a double amputee and had a turbulent journey though life. Red is the dominant feature in Jadunaths work as it symbolizes anger at the way he has been treated over the years.
Strength of Feeling and Red both tell stories of victory through oppression, and although very different in their subject matter, meet at the point where we find the personal in the political.
Michael Forbes, Curator, said: One of the joys of curating two simultaneous exhibitions in the galleries at the New Art Exchange is to create inspirational links between the artists and the public. Both Sokari and Anthony have powerful, personal messages and a way of engaging the viewer in their exploration of key themes that resonate within contemporary Britain. We are delighted that NAE has enabled these artists to develop their practice in a public arena, and we support the forthcoming dialogue and debate around these issues.