The role of arts in the fight for environmental justice in West Africa and beyond
5 February 2016, 18:30 – 20:00,
British Library London
Just over twenty years ago writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni activists were executed by the Nigerian military government for their campaign against the exploitation of the Niger Delta by Shell. A panel of writer Helon Habila, artists Sokari Douglas Camp and Michael McMillan, designer Jon Daniel and artist-campaigner Suzanne Dhaliwal discuss the role of the arts in the fight for environmental justice in West Africa and beyond. The event is chaired by curator David A Bailey, MBE.
In association with Platform London
David A Bailey MBE is a photographer, writer, curator, lecturer and cultural facilitator who lives and works in London. His practice is focused on the issues that relate to black representations in the areas of photography, performance and artists’ film. One of his main concerns is the notion of diaspora and black representation in art. He co-curated the groundbreaking exhibitions Rhapsodies in Black: Art of the Harlem Renaissance with Richard J Powell at the Hayward Gallery in 1997, and Back to Black: Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary with Petrine Archer-Straw and Richard J Powell at Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in 2005. From 1996 to 2002, he was Co-Director of the African and Asian Visual Artists Archive (AAVAA) at the University of East London. From 2005 to 2009, he was Senior Curator of Autograph (ABP), and from 2005 to today he is the Curator at Platform for the Remember Saro-Wiwa Living Memorial.
Sokari Douglas Camp was born in Nigeria and has represented Britain and Nigeria in national exhibitions as well showing in more than 40 solo exhibitions worldwide. Her public artworks include Battle Bus: Living Memorial for Ken Saro‐Wiwa (2006), a full-scale replica of a Nigerian steel bus, which stands as a monument to the late Niger Delta activist and writer. In 2003 Sokari was shortlisted for the Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth. Her work is in permanent collections at The Smithsonian Museum, The Setagaya Art Museum in Tokyo and the British Museum. She was awarded a CBE in recognition of her services to art.
Jon Daniel is a British-born, award-winning creative of African Caribbean heritage. In a career spanning over twenty-five years, he has worked as an art director for many of London’s leading advertising agencies; co-founded and served as Executive Creative Director with two creative companies; writes a regular monthly column called ‘4 Corners’ for Design Week; and has also begun to forge a reputation in the cultural arena as an artist, curator and collector.
Suzanne Dhaliwal is an activist and campaigner, working on indigenous rights and mining issues. She has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders Canada raising awareness about the impacts of mining on the mental health of indigenous communities impacted by mining in Colombia. She has been connecting environmental justice struggles in the Arctic, Tar Sands and Nigeria specifically around Shell’s human rights violations, most recently with London campaign group Platform. Since 2011 she has developed anti-oppression and creative action trainings to support the development of a creative-inclusive environmental movement grounded in anti-oppression principles.
Michael McMillan is a London-based writer, playwright, artist/curator and scholar. His work includes: The West Indian Front Room (2005-06), No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960-1990 (2015-16), Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers: Sound Systems Back in Da Day (2015-16). He has an Arts Doctorate from Middlesex University 2010, and is currently an Assoc. Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the London College of Fashion, UAL.
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