With Solo Exhibition, Ndidi Dike Interrogates Pre Colonial Exploitation

by Olamilekan Okeowo

Come Saturday, January 16, 2021, respected artist, Ndidi Dike, will host a solo exhibition at the Alliance Francaise, Mike Adenuga Centre Ikoyi, Lagos.

Titled Installation, New Works and Media, the solo exhibition is a multi-faceted and ongoing artistic research project into “Commodities of Consumption and Sites of Extraction in the Global South”.

In this exhibition, Dike employs wood and metal to fashion object-oriented installations that call up histories of transit and oppression related to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade while also engaging the geopolitical era of the natural resource extraction industries that investigates the global entanglements of material (dis) possession, postcolonial exploitation in the Global South, focusing on the DRC.

Other topics include forced migration, race, post-colonialism, cross-border/country migration, market aesthetics, consumerism, globalization, living patriarchy, gender equity, multiculturism,
decolonization, identity, and contemporary politics.

In this particular exhibition materiality, metaphors and geography serve as entry points into the colonial past of the Transatlantic that feature in her installations by connecting international linkages through labour, history, trade routes, both past, and present.
Revealing new reconfigured hegemonic power structures and economic dominance in the natural resource extractive industry via specific products freighted with symbolic meaning.

“The ongoing catastrophic effects of the health crisis COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, socio-economic emergencies has exposed fault lines of our various marginalised and disenfranchised societies. Among other exigencies can be linked to the Anthropocene and historic acts of abuse carried out centuries ago.
“Commodities of Consumption and Sites of Extraction in the Global South” is the title of a multi-faceted and ongoing artistic research project.

“For quite a while, I have been intensely engaging historical archives, and working across a range of artistic media including Lens-based technologies, collage, installation, painting, and sculpture.

“The foregoing modes of practice have guided investigations—across time and with a global reach—that dive into pre-and post-colonial histories of slavery, forced migration, displacement, decolonization, identity, gender inequality, and patriarchy. I’ve also been concerned with the political dimensions of commodities— their consumption, circulation, manufacture, as well as geopolitical policies that underwrite the control and extractive industries that govern natural resources and appropriation in Africa.

“I’ve focused my attention on not only the Congo but also countries such as Madagascar. Part of my interest in these histories, despite the perception held by many that they’ve been exhausted, is
the truth that the effects of the past survive in the present. Or, as Maya Angelou puts it, “History despite its wretched pain cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage need not be lived again,” Dike said in her explanatory notes to the coming exhibition.

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