Zina Saro-Wiwa is an artist and film-maker. She makes video installations, documentaries, photographs and experimental films. She also works with food to tell stories and transform histories by creating recipes and staging feast performances. Saro-Wiwa lives and works between Brooklyn, New York and the Niger Delta in Nigeria where she produces her own work and where she has set up her own contemporary art gallery called Boys’ Quarters Project Space in the city of Port Harcourt, for which she curates three shows a year.
Saro-Wiwa’s interest lies in mapping emotional landscapes. She often explores highly personal experiences, carefully recording their choreography, making tangible the space between internal experience and outward performance as well as bringing cross-cultural and environmental/geographic considerations to bear on these articulations. The slippery dynamics between “truth”, “reality” and “performance” lie at the heart of her video performance work. The relationship between the personal and political an encompassing theme.
Saro-Wiwa’s first foray into the art world was in 2008 when her documentary This Is My Africa was shown at Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town. The film went on to be shown on HBO from 2010 to 2012. In 2010 her career as an artist began in earnest in New York, when she was invited to curate her first ever contemporary art exhibition at SoHo’s, now disbanded, Location One Gallery. The group show – titled Sharon Stone in Abuja – was one that explored the narrative and visual conventions of the Nollywood film industry. In addition to co-curating the show, Saro-Wiwa created and contributed her first-ever installation pieces and experimental alt-Nollywood films.
Since her New York debut she has been commissioned by the Menil Collection and Seattle Art Museum, has had work shown at the Pulitzer Foundation, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Stevenson Gallery, Goodman Gallery, Guggenheim Bilbao, Nikolaj Kunsthal, Tate Britain and many other institutions. Saro-Wiwa’s work can be found in museums and private collections around the world.