Wura-Natasha Ogunji: The Kissing Mask
“Kissing can be so many things…a way of connection that is purely about recognising another person’s humanity, divinity and essence.” Meet artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji, who sees performance as a way to witness and transcend the flaws of human nature.
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Wura-Natasha Ogunji’s performance “The Kissing Mask” shown in this film riffs off a drawing loved by the artist in which two people kissed. The drawing’s title “Who are you kissing when you kiss a mask?” became the starting point of Ogunji’s own work as she pondered the question. The mask is used to interrupt the viewer’s expectations – a break with modes of interaction we know and recognise. It provides “these separate, other worldly, non-sanctioned experiences that opens a space within regular ways of interacting,” the artist explains.
Wura-Natasha Ogunji (b. 1970) is a Nigerian-American performance and visual artist, who works in a variety of mediums from work on paper to performance art and video. Ogunji often uses her own body to explore e.g. homeland, identity and the presence of women in public space in Lagos, Nigeria, and is part of a movement of first-generation artists of the African diaspora, who have chosen to relocate their art practice to the home country of their parents. She has received several awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2012), and has performed at prominent venues such as Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis. She divides her time between Austin, Texas and Lagos, Nigeria. For more about her see: http://wuraogunji.com/home.html
Wura-Natasha Ogunji was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen in connection to the Art Alive festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark in May 2016.
Camera: Kris Tait and Klaus Elmer
Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016
Supported by Nordea-fonden