Nnenna Okore (1975 - Nsukka, Nigeria)
Shield Me, 2009
newspaper, acrylic color, starch, yarn, and rope
About The Work
Okore remarks, "My work broadly focuses on the concepts of recycling, transformation, and regeneration of forms based on observations from ecological and manmade environments. I am drawn to uniquely diverse and tactile characteristics of the collective physical world. I am astounded by natural phenomena that cause things to become weathered, dilapidated, and lifeless — those events slowly triggered by aging, death, and decay — and subtly captured in the fluid and delicate nature of life. My materials are biodegradable and comprised largely of old newspapers, found paper, ropes, thread, yarn, fibers, burlap, dye, coffee, starch, clay, etc. Through manually repetitive techniques as mirrored in both natural and mechanical reproductions, my processes of fraying, tearing, teasing, weaving, dyeing, waxing, accumulating, and sewing allow me to interweave and synthesize the distinct properties of materials.
I systematically deconstruct and reconstruct my media to yield subtle transformations of visual complexities. And much like impermanent earthly attributes, my organic and twisted structures mimic the dazzling intricacies of fabric, trees, barks, topography, and architecture.I desire to heighten through my works, the perception of textures, undulating contours and movements that exist within our ephemeral world; and to evoke reflections about how to better appreciate and preserve our earthbound surroundings.”
Nnenna Okore is an associate professor of art at North Park University, Chicago, where she teaches sculpture. She earned a BA in painting from the University of Nigeria and an MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. She has exhibited internationally and has received several awards including the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award.