About the Film

“My role as a dancer is to not only look for ways to go through my own journey, but also to trigger the body memory of my audience,” explains artist and choreographer Qudus Onikeku in the catalogue for the first-ever Nigerian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. “As a colonized people, we have lost track of many things.”

Onikeku’s performances explore postcolonial Nigerian nationhood through this idea of body memory: the power of the human form to awaken dormant memories of collective trauma. By activating the body through dance, the artist seeks to escape the burdens of history—and heal them.

Also featuring artists Victor Ehikhamenor and Peju Alatise, the pavilion’s immersive group exhibition “How About Now?” imagines a multifaceted national and cultural identity for contemporary Nigeria. Onikeku’s euphoric dance performance Right Here, Right Now takes place inside Ehikhamenor’s installation A Biography of the Forgotten (2017), where small hanging bronze sculptures reference the Benin artworks infamously looted by British colonists in the late 19th century. Within this symbolic space, Onikeku draws upon contemporary choreography, African dance, and Yoruba spirituality to bring the past fully into the present—and create “a window through which time could be altered for a brief moment.”

Cover photo by Jarrard Cole.

For the most immersive 3D experience, watch in Google Cardboard via the YouTube app.


Featuring Qudus Onikeku’s “Right Here, Right Now” at the Nigerian Pavilion

Produced by Scenic

Production Team for Scenic:

Gary Hustwit, Maya Tippett, Jarrard Cole, Lucy Raven, Enrico Lenarduzzi

Production Team for Artsy:

Marina Cashdan, Head of Editorial and Creative Director

Owen Dodd, Designer

Demie Kim, Assistant Project Manager

Alexxa Gotthardt, Staff Writer

Sound mix: Mike Frank

Colorist: Sandy Patch

Presented in collaboration with UBS.

Jun 15, 2017 4:00am
More in Art