Zina Saro-Wiwa: 'For 10 years I didn't cry about my father'
Art Business

Zina Saro-Wiwa: ‘For 10 years I didn’t cry about my father’

There’s a small piece of orange text on the wall of Zina Saro-Wiwa ’s first UK solo show. It’s a recipe for bread and butter pudding with paw-paw custard and palm wine glaze, which is also an account of watching her father eat. “When I was younger I found the act of eating sad and solemn. Tragically human,” she writes. “Watching him eat made me think of him as vulnerable and in need of protection.” And so it was to prove. Her father was Ken Saro-Wiwa , one of nine environmental activists executed by the Nigerian government on 10 November 1995 for opposing the oil industry’s exploitation of their ancestral lands. In a five-screen video installation that runs the length of London’s Tiwani Contemporary gallery, Saro-Wiwa sends a drone over those lands to photograph apparently endless vistas of lush green forest. But its surface is deceptive: an idyllic-looking path through the woods is in fact the track of a buried pipeline, while what appears to be a totem pole in a dried-up riverbed is the rusting carcass of a well head, on ground left so toxic that the trees have yet to reclaim it. Through this landscape, criss-crossed with […]

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