Wura-Natasha Ogunji-Profile

is a Nigerian- American visual artist and performer. Her works include drawings stitched into paper and videos in which she engages her body in explorations of movement and mark-making across water, land and air. As a recent recipient of the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, she has been creating performance works about the presence of women in public space in Lagos, Nigeria. These include the public performances Beauty, Will I Still Carry Water When I am a Dead Woman? and Queens. Ogunji has performed at Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts (St. Louis) and the Menil Collection (Houston). She has received grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Idea Fund. She is co-founder of the Institute for Performing Justice at the University of Texas (Austin). She has a BA from Stanford University (Anthropology) and an MFA from San Jose State University (Photography).

Wura-Natasha Ogunji-Project

Queen Sweep

A performer wears the mask of a Benin head with a worker's paintsuit uniform. The performer sweeps the street for several hours. Cameras are embedded in the eyes of the mask to record this journey through the streets as well as responses by the public. This work couples images of the traditional [Benin head] with the everyday [street cleaner] as a way to both complicate and question the relationship between the sacred and the profane, royalty and the populace. While referencingfor history and the archive does not necessarily sit in opposition to daily economic realities, it is nevertheless important to consider how a citizen's relationship to historical artifacts changes and morphs depending on the current economic, religious and political climate of the nation. Queen Sweep intends to position the worker who sweeps the streets as a sacred trickster figure in order to explore the relationship between history, tradition and sacred space.