Ode to 9ja (2019)
a 2019 video adaptation of the installation, Ode to 9ja
edited by Samirah Roye.
screenshots taken from 9ja book
created by Kimberley Cookey-Gam
Ode to 9ja (2018) is an ambitious, immersive installation through which the artist strives to transport the viewer to Nigeria through a stimulating, multi-sensory experience. The name of the piece refers to a colloquial abbreviation of the country’s name that conveys a sense of familiarity and fondness. The informal language of the title is indicative of the sense of comfort that Cookey-Gam continues throughout the installation. As visitors enter the piece, they are invited to remove their shoes and walk on the impressive crocheted rugs in a relaxed and culturally emulative fashion. Through the employment of artificial heat and humidity, Cookey-Gam creates a microclimate, evoking the atmosphere of Nigeria in a London gallery space. African wax print adorns the entrance to the piece, creating a thermal curtain through which one must literally come face to face with the artist’s representation of Nigeria. Sonic and visual aids within the piece further aid the evocation of Nigeria that the artist seeks to create. The entire piece is an ambitious step away from the artist’s comfort zone. Though grand in scale, the piece manages to encompass an intensely personal experience whilst still allowing appreciation for all who enter.
words by Jessica O'Riordan