Tate Britain Film

Zina Saro-Wiwa: From Nollywood to the Niger Delta

Phyllis: I Am Not Alone (2010) by Zina Saro-Wiwa. Courtesy of the artist

Still from Phyllis (2010) video by Zina Saro-Wiwa

Prayer Warriors: The Survival Performances (2015) multi-channel video by Zina Saro-Wiwa

Still from Prayer Warriors 2015 Multi-channel video by Zina Saro-Wiwa

Still from Table Manners: "Alex Eats Roasted Cocoyam with Palm Oil" 2015 Video by Zina Saro-Wiwa.

Mourning Class: Nollywood (2010) multi-channel video by Zina Saro-Wiwa.

Still from The Deliverance of Comfort 2010 video by Zina Saro-Wiwa.

Still from Sarogua Mourning 2011 single-channel video by Zina Saro-Wiwa.

Artist and filmmaker Zina Saro-Wiwa joins Tate curator Zoe Whitley for screenings and conversation structured around a selection of the artist’s works spanning the past five years. Saro-Wiwa's films began as explorations of both performance and story-telling inspired by the aesthetics and heightened dramatic narrative of Nollywood films. From these earlier Nollywood-inspired work shot mostly in Lagos, we move to her most recent work produced, once again, in Nigeria but this time in the polluted, oil-rich region of her birth, the Niger Delta.

The presentation begins with Saro-Wiwa’s first works, her "alt-Nollywood" films Phyllis (2010), The Deliverance of Comfort (2010) followed by poignant excerpts from Mourning Class: Nollywood (2010) and Sarogua Mourning (2011). In the first two short films,  the artist uses constructed drama to expose the raw vulnerability involved in demonstrating love, enactments of belief and expressions of sorrow. The latter two embrace the space between documentary and performance, revealing how one’s performed emotions can provide cathartic release.

As a video artist, Saro-Wiwa uses performance as a vehicle for an exploration of the internal and external environment. Two of her more recent works Table Manners (2014-15) and Prayer Warriors (2015), present compelling and sumptuous evocations of survival and sustenance – both physical and spiritual.

The audience is invited to take part in the discussion about performance; melodrama on-screen and in-gallery and the relationship between contemporary art and environmentalism. 

Tate Britain

The Clore Auditorium

London SW1P 4RG
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Date & Time

18 January 2016 at 19.00–21.00