Composition and movement are key to British-Nigerian artist Karimah Ashadu’s moving image works, which are often produced using camera implements like handmade colored filters, magnifying lenses, rotating devices, and harnesses worn by the filmmaker as she captures the urban industrial landscape of Lagos. The artist’s recordings of sawmills, butcher shops, playgrounds, dwellings, and the figures that inhabit them examine how labor and the creation of value is mapped onto individual bodies and reflected in Nigeria’s history. Her accomplished visual language, which imbues otherwise documentary footage with formal playfulness and dramatic élan, is never detached from the critical investigations underlying her work. Rather, it foregrounds the labor of both filmmaker and viewer, and how these resonate with that of the films’ subjects. In conjunction with the 2018 Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, titled The Necessary Image, Ashadu joins us to discuss her film and installation-based work. Seminar programmers Kevin Jerome Everson and Greg de Cuir Jr.’s vision for an engaged, if not utilitarian, cinema is an ideal lens through which to consider Ashadu’s exploration of the intricate relationships between identity and place.
The Museum of Modern Art, Floor T2, Theater 2