May 29, 2014 12:11AM

Nathalie Mba-Bikoro (born in 1985) is a Franco--Gabonese visual and performance artist. Drawing on her experiences growing up in Africa and Europe, Nathalie explores the human condition, identity as well as the ‘Other’. Civil unrest, prejudice and prolonged illness have helped the artist forge her own visual language. Through literature and the visual arts, Nathalie challenges the conceptual constraints of appropriating and representing the African body. Her works also address some of the larger social and political narratives around memory, loss and displacement.

Nathalie’s ongoing works from the Alice in Wonderland series evoke hope, discovery and a bright future. This occurs in an imaginary land under a moonlit sky where the past and the future become one. Astronauts are no longer aliens from outer space but those who protect mortal beings. The donkey is a symbol of love and resilience. It represents the downtrodden masses. Only Alice can set him free with her vivid imagination. In a land where reality is locked in a fairground under the watchful gaze of the eagle, this creates endless possibilities for renewal and change.

In March 2014, her work was part of the Visual Activism Symposium at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In January 2014, The Uncomfortable Truth was shown as part of Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. In October 2013, Nathalie’s works were part of The African Art Auction: Contemporary and Modern Art from Africa and its Diaspora at The Music Room in London. Her works were also exhibited during La Otra Bienale in Bogota, Colombia in 2013. In September 2013, she took part in African Public Art: Trends and Methods in Engaging the African Public during MoCADA’s African and Afro-Diasporan Art Talks. 

In August 2013, MBE Yinka Shonibare curated Between the Lines: A Tale of Modern Slavery and The Brick Moon as part of the African Arts Festival in London. In May 2013, as part of Frieze New York, Nathalie was part of TURF’s first show during cutlog NY entitled Africana: Recycling, Myth-making, Alterity. It won the prestigious Discovery Prize. In 2012, she had her first solo show, Alice in Wonderland: The Middle Passage, at Tiwani Contemporary in London. In 2012, she was also a part of the Arts Biennale Sachnin, in Israel and the Dak'art Biennale in Senegal. In 2010, Nathalie’s works were part of Contemporary African Art during Art Basel. Nathalie has also won a residency at the Fondation Blanchère and the Soleil d’Afrique Prize in Mali. Currently, Nathalie lives and works between Berlin, London and Libreville in Gabon.