Artist Nnenna Okore (Australia) focuses on climate change in the Tomorrow/Today section of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, in which she is participating .
Statement by Nnenna Okore
“First and foremost, it an honor to be part of this year’s edition of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair: Tomorrow/Today section.
As an art practitioner who has been in the creative and pedagogical fields for many years albeit having little presence in South Africa, I am particularly drawn to this year’s thematic focus which seeks to reposition artistic emergency as not just an inclusivity of upcoming, underrepresented artists, but also artists who are less known in the South African region. I believe, with this redefinition, that more diverse voices of the artistic field will be brought to the fore.
Responding to the curatorial team’s bold situating of the art fair as an avenue to make seen the less seen, I perceive the exhibition title ‘Today/Tomorrow’ as a platform that gives currency to powerful global issues through diverse voices.
Personally, I see this as an opportunity to highlight the subject of climate change as one of the ‘Today-Tomorrow’ issues in Africa and the world. And though not afro-specific, I believe it is a global crisis that necessarily has to be addressed by Africans for Africa.
For many years, my works have dealt with environmental issues, such as excesses in manufacturing, consumptions, wastefulness, and the anthropogenic practices we carry out in our different communities, countries and the planet at large. The environmental issues we face can longer be dismissed or ignored because today and tomorrow will be defined by how we respond to and curtail it. This art fair is the right place for me to bring greater attention to these ecological issues through the display of tactile, sculptural and painterly forms created from recycled and plastic waste.
The works that I will showcase at the fair will seek to engage the audience in contemplating the damaging and lasting impact of human behaviors that are detrimental to the health of the earth. By referencing wasteful practices in my works and using accumulative material processes juxtaposed with colors and textures, I hope to draw attention to overconsumption and the deep problem of plastic waste. In my recent artistic explorations, I have been working with scientists, artists and communities to research and create new forms of bioplastics (biodegradable materials) using food waste that we don’t normally use, such as peels, seeds and pips. It is my life’s passion to engage the waste problem and finding environmentally-friendly alternatives to petrochemical products for use in artmaking and other processes.
I have little doubt that the Investec Cape Town Art Fair: Tomorrow/Today will create an enabling space for environmental issues such as global warming, climate change and excessive wastefulness to be brought to the fore of Africa’s attention and hopefully shift many perceptions on the issue.”
Nnenna Okore (Australia) is represented by Sakhile&Me – Frankfurt, Germany.
See also Cape Town Green Map