It’s often said that art must reflect the times it exists in, the reality surrounding it, which inspires its creation.
At the moment, globally, no reality is more urgent, frustrating and ultimately, heart-breaking; as migration, abandonment and displacement and subsequently – hopefully- integration, acceptance by strangers.
As bombs drop on innocence: mothers, daughters, sons; livelihoods reduced to torched bricks and sand; families, maimed, broken and killed; those who survive must journey westward, anywhere but home, to escape what has now become their daily reality.
It is this trying time in history which remains present till today that continues to stretch what we regard as evil, and what tolerance truly means is what mixed media artist, Ngozi Schommers captures in her body of work, “We Are Not Welcome Here”
In her series, she strings together / represents lives of millions of refugees, displaced persons using fragments of other materials, of other creative endeavour: figures, paintings, drawings and photographs. She preoccupies herself with these diverse materials, reminiscent perhaps of the legion, different, social, economic, political circumstances, decisions, actions that have given birth to this global crisis we have on our hands. Curator, Jude Anogwih says of her work, “She is a material girl! Her influences are multiple but mainly experiential and existential encounters and factors such as aftermaths and retrospections.”
The artist has witnessed what she has now expressed with confetti, inject photo print, acrylic marker having recently moved to Germany, notably the one European country that has been most accepting of refugees,
’This time Europe doesn’t look so much as land of hope and opportunities. I see people go through waste bins, so many street beggars. People displaced in a land where no one really wants them; in a land where the culture and language is strange to them…”
We are proud to be associated with and to bring forward this artist’s important, necessary statement / work at this most opportune time. Daily, Nigerians and Africans are wilfully, understandably dislocating themselves from home, risking their lives, across violent seas, for a life that would be hopefully without risk, without costs of poverty, bad governance, war, hunger, and so on. They do so knowing they possibly face rejection, being turned away.
They do so still.
We do hope these works will inspire introspection.
As Warsan Shire says, “no one puts their child on water, unless it is safer than land…”