Samuel Nnorom: The Politics of Immigration and Integration

Bringing you the press release for Samuel Nnorom's 2023 exhibition.

Nigeria-based Samuel Nnorom presents his first-ever solo exhibition in the UK this February, following his 2022 residency at The Art House in partnership with the Royal Over-Seas League.

The Art House is committed to supporting and promoting the practices of artists who have not yet exhibited in the UK, and are delighted to present a major project from Nigeria-based Samuel Nnorom. The Politics of Immigration and Integration will combine Nnorom’s personal experience and understanding of socio-political issues in Africa with the insightful stories he learned from Wakefield’s refugee and asylum-seeking community, to produce a unique and incredibly thought-provoking body of new work.

Reinvention and critical questioning are integral to Nnorom’s creative process. Alongside a series of textile sculptures, this exhibition will showcase works embracing new mediums for
the first time. This includes performance-based photography that shares the many realities of migration, belonging, identity and consumerism.

Born in Nigeria, Nnorom creates sculptural installations with Ankara, a fabric known for its bold and expressive motifs. Using a creative process of bubbling, or making ‘bundles’, his works explore concepts of social ‘bubbles’ and investigate key themes of migration and segregation, whilst an emphasis on the importance of fabric as a social structure is at the forefront of his making process.

Searching for Survival (2022), is a brand new colourful wall sculpture formed of bundled fabric to represent the ideas of temporality and fluidity of humans. Other textile works use second-hand donated fabric from the UK, such as the nearly three-metre-wide Becoming (2022). Known in Nigeria as Okrikam, the works comment on how these clothes often have a detrimental impact on importation in Africa, including its influence and loss on culture, the economy, and traditions.

Our programme places artists at the heart of our community. During his two-month residency, Nnorom worked closely with the Studio of Sanctuary group to make new work. Connecting Dots (2022) invited individuals to share their stories by painting on round aluminium sculptures, in an attempt to capture a ‘permanent’ moment and shared connection with the group, many of whom are seeking asylum in Wakefield, but often are moved without much warning to other parts of the UK.

The sculpture remains a reminder of the stories they shared together and represents the short-lived social bubble he experienced with the group, many of whom have been relocated.

“I wanted to work with this group because it reminded me of how short or quick the journey of life can be. It is a constant reminder of the fluid nature of humans as immigrants to this earth. Connecting Dots takes its form inspired by the Bluetooth symbol, connecting individuals in the global space and referencing the structure of atoms and molecules, suspended in space. We shall continue to write and draw our stories in the bubbles of time…hoping it connects us with the universe.”

Building on his experience of working with Ankara fabric, the exhibition also includes new wall-hanging sculptures that the artist began making in Nigeria. Using fabric from his hometown, he brought these works to Wakefield and refers to the works as “migrants” due to their journey to the UK. He places focus on the importance and value that refugees, asylum seekers and migrants have, and are, in the growth of any developed nation, describing everyone as having their own “wealth, ideas, energy and culture”.

– Samuel Nnorom

Nnorom has a growing international reputation. He was a fellow at Guest Artist Space (GAS), a residency selected by the Yinka Shonibare Foundation in summer 2022, and last December he was awarded the Art for Change Prize by M&C Saatchi and the Saatchi Gallery. Don’t miss your chance to catch the latest body of work from the emerging artist, and immerse yourself in a vibrant display of culture and identity.

To book a private view and find out more about our access, visit the Access Page >

Header. Gidibo (2021). Courtesy of the artist, Samuel Nnorom
1. Samuel Nnorom At the Art for Change Prize. Photo Robin Foottit
2. Searching for Survival (2022) (detail). Photo Robin Foottit
3. Samuel Nnorom in his studio at The Art House

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For further information please contact Olivia Savage, Marketing and Communications Officer.

01924 312002