“The Wealth of Nations”
Installation, drawing, drum, water
In collaboration with: Maryanto dan WASH (Weekly Art Sharing)
In June 1998, three weeks after Indonesian president Suharto stepped down, Nigerian military dictator Sani Abacha reportedly died of a heart attack. Both countries entered a new era, free from their respective authoritarian regimes that had held power for many years or so it seems. Nigeria and Indonesia are producers of oil, which more or less determine their position within the international market and politics. The existence of oil has fuelled corruption more than any other factor. This is the background for Ehikhamenor’s work, “The Wealth of Nations.” Ehikhamenor repurposes hundreds of old oil drums as the main medium of his indoor and outdoor installations to address resource control and environmental degradation. The drums are painted over, highlighting Ehikhamenor’s well-known style of iconic drawings. Empty oil drums has its own historical precedence. After Nigeria civil war, military execution of coup plotters, political prisoners and armed robbers were carried out openly as a Sunday fanfare with sand-filled drums as the backdrop and bullet-catcher. The drums represent a macabre memory for the artist.
Victor Ehikhamenor is a Nigerian artist, photographer and writer who has been prolific in producing abstract, symbolic and politically motivated works referencing history and memories. His works are influenced by the duality of African beliefs and Western/Catholic political intervention. His motifs are symbols reminiscent of his childhood village shrines in Benin Kingdom. His short story “Madam” and drawings Postcards from Italy were part of the German pavilion in the 56th Venice Biennale All The World’s Future curated by Okwui Enwezor in 2015. He has published numerous fiction and critical essays with mainstream magazines and newspapers round the world including the New York Times, BBC, CNN Online, Washington Post, Farafina, AGNI magazine, Wasafiri, etc. He has also designed numerous book covers for authors and organizations like Chimamanda Adichie, Helon Habila, Chika Unigwe, The Caine Prize in London, and many others. Ehikhamenor is the author of Excuse Me! a satirical creative non-fiction. He maintains a studio in Lagos, Nigeria and Maryland, United States.
B.A. 1991 (Ambrose Alli University, Nigeria), M.sc 2003 (University of Maryland, University College), MFA 2008 (University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland USA.