Ifeoma U. Anyaeji - Ijem nke Mmanwu m (The Journey of my Masquerade)

Ifeoma U. Anyaeji - Ijem nke Mmanwu m (The Journey of my Masquerade)
Date 4th Mar - 4th Jun 2023 Price Free - Drop-in - no ticket required Location Tramway View map

PREVIEW Friday 3 March, 7 to 9pm

Nigerian artist Ifeoma U. Anyaeji (born in Benin City) creates colourful, intricately hand-crafted sculptures and installations from non-biodegradable plastics such as bottles and plastic bags. Applying a unique practice which she describes as Plasto-art, Anyaeji experiments with these global pollutants, transforming them into malleable textiles which she weaves into vibrant, fluid designs. 

Anyaeji uses a Nigerian hair-plaiting technique called Threading (Ikpa Owu in Igbo language), an increasingly obsolete hair-craft, and combines it with traditional West African basketry and fabric weaving techniques. She reflects on the loss of such traditions, as well as the environmental problems she has encountered in her community in Nigeria.

Weaving together personal and collective experiences, her distinctive and vibrant sculptures also embrace forms and influences from West African culture. This  includes the performance, folklore, music and textiles of Nigeria, and its domestic and communal spaces. 

In a new commission created for Tramway, Anyaeji references the Nigerian Masquerade, traditionally only performed and witnessed by males, which involves the use of elaborate, colourful costumes that are meant to invoke ancestral spirits. Anyaeji re-imagines this masculine ritual in sculptural form using traditionally feminine craft practices. Ijem nke Mmanwu m (The Journey of my Masquerade) explores gender-categorised craft and decorative art as viable means of artistic expression, as well as their political and subversive potential.

Image: Oche Onodu, Ifeoma U. Anyaeji (2012), Installation shot. Courtesy of the artist.