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Zina, Ken Saro-Wiwa’s daughter regrets oil discovery in Niger-Delta

By Osa Mbonu

Zina Saro-Wiwa, daughter of the hanged environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa said it is a curse that oil was ever discovered in the Niger-Delta.

Zina, who is currently holding her first solo gallery show in London said in an interview with ArtForum: “We don’t control the oil that is extracted and exported from under our feet, and our fishing and farming have been severely disrupted as a result of extractive processes.

•Zina Ken Saro-Wiwa

It’s a shame that oil was found somewhere as verdant and fecund as the Niger-Delta. It would’ve been better if this had happened somewhere unpopulated, such as in a desert. But this is where the oil is, and it is in this contested landscape that I have made an artistic intervention.

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“I’d been a radio and TV journalist in the past. But when approaching the Niger-Delta, the place of my birth, the experience was so overwhelming for me that a journalistic lens wasn’t ever going to be fulfilling. That’s a large part of the reason why art attracted me.

It gave me the latitude and the space to allow the Niger- Delta speak to me and speak through me. I wasn’t willing to go there with anything fixed in mind—I wanted the place to tell me what it wanted to say.”

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Her show, which is titled: The Turquoise Meat Inside, is a photographic and video work, set in the Niger-Delta and is currently on display at the Tiwani Contemporary, London until October 27, 2018.

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