On view through September 05, 2021 at the Wiener Secession in Vienna, Austria, the exhibition « Karimah Ashadu : Plateau » offers a look at the artist’s practice of living and working conditions in the socio-economic framework of West Africa. Her new installation offers her first look at undocumented workers who mine tin and columbite on the Jos Plateau in central Nigeria.

The scene is littered with man-made pits and lakes, evidence of colonial-era property abuse. Unlike the workers of the past, who had to look for work and hand over the bounty they extracted to the masters, those of today are self-sufficient. In this way, they are able to make their own decisions about the future of their lives, and they are able to make their own decisions about the future of their lives.

Without being moralistic, Karimah Ashadu portrays the magnificence of everyday life, the self-sufficiency of individuals and their struggle for liberation. The workers’ voices describe, giving a brief glimpse into their lives, while the artist uses her unusual cinematic practice to track the space between herself, the camera and the bodies she films.

Karimah Ashadu‘s approach to filmmaking is based on observation, exposing herself to the life systems of the development to open up new points of view. Her twisted gaze focuses on the groups of excavators, their hands and feet plunging into the mud, but also awaits the rich nuances of the scene, its radiant shades of red and yellow ochre.

Who is Karimah Ashadu ?

KA-Edit_Secession_ashadu_-8773-1024x670-1 « Karimah Ashadu : Plateau » at the Wiener Secession in Vienna
Karimah Ashadu, Plateau, 2021, installation view Secession 2021, photo: Iris Ranzinger

Born in London in 1985, Karimah Ashadu is a British-Nigerian artist who lives and works between Hamburg and Lagos. His training takes into account a concern for work, society, and is centered on man and thoughts of freedom related to the financial and socio-economic context of Nigeria and West Africa.

Her work has been exhibited and screened around the world, including in Vienna, the Kunstverein in Hamburg, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre d’art contemporain in Geneva.

Karimah Ashadu has been awarded the Ars viva in 2020, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the European Media Art Festival, Filmförderung Hamburg, Fondazione In Between Art Film and Zeit-Stiftung Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius, among others.

In 2020, Karimah Ashadu established her film-making organization Golddust by Ashadu, which works on artist-driven films about black culture and African subjects.

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