In an effort to bridge the boundaries between art and social life, multi-disciplinary social practice artist Dr Wilfred Ukpong is set for one of the most important private individual art project in Nigeria.
The renowned Oxford-based Nigerian scholar returns home after several years abroad with Blazing Century 1, an innovative social art project that is focused on environmental sustainability and youth empowerment and development.
For Ukpong, his works of arts are beyond just aesthetics, but that of creating direct impact on the society, hence becoming an intervention system, especially for communities where oil explorations are being carried out.
Asides the damage done by oil spillage, the environment is littered with giant self-floating hose deployed between oilrig and FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) Vessel or oil tanker for offloading crude oil. Blazing Century Project will help clean the environment by recycling and repurposing these materials through the art objects.
Blazing Century will help clean the environment by recycling these materials through the various works created for the film, performance, and art exhibition aspects of the project.
This will be achieved by engaging a group of youths who will be trained to create artworks, props and costumes for the film, as this will serve as the empowerment part of the project. Already, some young persons have been trained in Ukpong’s Blazing Century Studios in aspects of performance, sewing, make up, design, sculpting since the inception of Blazing Century in 2010. In the long run provide the youth participants with a means of livelihood and themselves and their families.
Hence, the setting up of the Art Future Lab, a creative experimental art space will be situated in Akwa Ibom and Lagos states and possibly across the Niger-Delta States, using a range of salvaged recycled materials from industrial waste in his model process he describe as “environmental sustainability through adaptive repurposing”.
‘BC1: Future World’, the projects art, film and sound installation exhibition will be shown on a floating barge compartment – designed by the artist – in a coastal shore location in Eket, Akwa Ibom also in the Marina Waters in Lagos Island, featuring fifty rare innovative artworks produced between 2012 and 2016. The artworks are made with a range of waste plastic materials salvaged from the oil and gas sector during Ukpong’s environmental clean-up workshops in the Niger-Delta.
The show will be complemented with a series of performance art events catalogue publication, poetry readings and talks that will offer an interesting space for reflection, learning, dialogue and entertainment. Other parts of this creative initiative includes a workshop (Youth of Nigeria as Artists of the Future), music/sound project (Red and Black Album), feature film (Rebirth), art exhibition (Future World), performance actions (Rebirth of a Century), and poetry (Bound by Blood).
The performance part of the project, “Rebirth of a Century” was presented as a two days’ street intervention during the 56th Venice Biennale in Italy last May.