Olalekan Jeyifous (American, b.1977) and Mpho Matsipa (South African, b.1977) in collaboration with Wale Lawal (Nigerian, b.1992) and Dani Kyengo O’Neill (Kenyan/South African, b.1993)
Liquid Geographies, Liquid Borders explores the aural and visual landscape of the lagoon as a spatial metaphor for complex, slippery exchanges that seek to delineate ownership, but also gestures towards a terrain of blending, branching, and stratification of aquatic ecologies. One of the key questions the installation explores is the materiality of larger systems of power mediated by oil—and the spectralization of those who refuse to remain structurally illegible, or legible—within that frame. Such topographies escape proper or fixed physical demarcations, even while being constituted by the vectors of extraction, unbridled capitalist expansion, and recalibrations of territory, identity, and rule. This fluid, imaginary space that connects the Niger delta to other waterways emerges at the interface of aquatic ecologies and multiple figurations of Yemoja—the Yoruba goddess of the sea. Taking crude oil-spills as a point of departure, the installation connects oil-fuelled trade and degradation with the lived spatialities of these polymorphic landscapes. Yemoja presents a lens to introduce not only oral histories and culture to the discourse on oil, but also an ecofeminist, and deeply rooted critique of oil culture.
WITH THE ADDITIONAL SUPPORT OF
University of the Witwatersrand
The Richard and Mary L Gray Center for Arts, University of Chicago
Art and Installation Design: Olalekan Jeyifous
Research and Writing: Mpho Matsipa, Wale Lawal
Soundscape: Dani Kyengo O’Neill