Plenty of openings coming up this First Thursday, but here’s one definitely not to miss – Metamorphoses, by the fabulous Nnenna Okore. Using materials including newspaper, magazines, discarded objects and clay, Okore creates fascinating and warmly approachable sculptures and installations that are known for their intricate beauty.
When I met Okore in Chicago last year, she told me about her work and how she began making sculptures that drew on her life and surroundings in Nigeria. “I started off just responding to the materials that were in my environment. I was drawn to things that people use, and how they find these things that they use. And one thing that struck me [was] that people were very good at collecting and re-using things, in ways that I found very curious and exciting. So it became a part of the conversation or a language in the way that I also made things… I would also find things, and wanted to reuse them in a more meaningful way, to make a statement about the history of the people and the culture, and things that are really amazing about their architectural landscape.”
Since moving to the US – initially for her postgraduate studies, and subsequently as an artist and teacher – her practice has shifted. “Though it was still focused on re-purposing material and recycling things, it became about the way in which the world view here was so different from where I was coming from, where people had to be more dependent on those things that they found, and rely on them as a way of coping through life. [Here] people had so much that they could toss things, throw things away. So I was in culture shock for a little bit. And I began to accumulate those things, because I felt like I needed to hold onto them. I didn’t want to let go.”
To see the latest transformation in her work, look no further than Bloomsbury…
Metamorphoses is on at the October Gallery until the 18th June.
Private View: 5th May, 6-8.30
Show: 6th May – 18th June
24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London