Competition: US & Canada
Wura-Natasha Ogunji is a visual artist and performer. Her works include videos in which she engages her body in explorations of movement and mark-making across water, land, and air. Ogunji is a recipient of The Dallas Museum of Art’s Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant and is a selected Artist in Residence as part of the National Performance Network’s Visual Artist Network. She has participated in residencies at Can Serrat in Spain and Altos de Chavon in the Dominican Republic and has received grants from the Idea Fund, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the City of Austin. Her videos have screened at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation (Adelaide), Exit Art and The Kitchen (New York), and as part of the Video Art Festival /SI :N/2 (Ramallah, East Jerusalem, Naplouse), and The Twenty-Third Annual Instants Vidéo Numériques et Poétiques (Marseille, Martigues, Milan and Damascus). Ogunji’s performance works include one hundred black women, one hundred actions and most recently Will I still carry water when I am a dead woman? which she performed in Lagos, Nigeria. She has a B.A. from Stanford University (Anthropology) and an M.F.A. from San Jose State University (Photography).
As a Fellow, Ogunji will create a series of performance videos in the city of Lagos. These works entitled Mogbo mo branch—Yoruba for I heard and I branched myself into the party—will build upon her previous performance investigations which create connections between Africa and the Americas via the black female body/bodies. While Mogbo mo branch in its basic meaning describes a party crasher, it also refers to the party itself. It is a phrase which celebrates the bold ingenuity of Lagosians. Ogunji will develop performative language and aesthetics to speak about how women in particular occupy space and make claims to their own bodies in this postcolonial cityscape. Mogbo mo branch will be created in collaboration with local performers using the philosophies of Afrofuturism, which foreground African cosmologies, political realities, and historical experiences while simultaneously writing black people into fresh and expansive futures.