Wura-Natasha Ogunji (B. 1970. America) is a visual and performing artist. Her works include drawings, videos and public performances. A selection of these works was recently featured in No Such Place: Contemporary African Artists in America at Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery, New York. Select exhibitions include: Future Reflexions, The Arches Glasgow, UK; That's not the Atlantic (There's a disco ball between us.), Arthello Beck Gallery, Dallas; and Six Draughtsmen, MoCADA, New York. Ogunji's performances have been featured at the Gordon Institute of Performing and Creative Arts, Cape Town; Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos; The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis; and the Menil Collection, Houston. Her commissioned performance 'An ancestor takes a photograph', which recasts the traditional Egungun masquerade with women, will be featured in the upcoming Seattle Art Museum exhibition 'DISGUISE: Masks and Global African Art'. Ogunji is a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2012) and has received grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York; The Dallas Museum of Art; and the Idea Fund, Houston. She has a BA from Stanford University (1992, Anthropology) and an MFA from San Jose State University (1998, Photography). She lives in Austin and Lagos.
For her first solo show in London, Statues Also Love, Ogunji draws inspiration from her daily interactions in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. Upon winning the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011 she journeyed to Lagos, reconnecting with the land of her father’s birth and creating a new body of work. Since then, she has lived between Lagos and Austin, Texas. Within this global context, the artist has developed a unique drawing practice, using thread to reinforce the lines that connect the men and women depicted upon delicate brown paper.
Statues Also Love includes several new drawings, made for this exhibition, which will be seen for the first time in London. The stitched works in this series illustrate the unexpected moments of beauty that arise from the constant motion and musical sounds of the city. Within the charge density of the megalopolis Ogunji takes note of the human capacity to connect in magical ways. Ife heads, Gelede masks and Olmec-faced figures suggest the ways in which the sacred and profane, the traditional and futuristic exist simultaneously in the urban sprawl of Lagos.