Nnenna Okore is an artist-researcher-teacher who uses artistic practice, pedagogy and social engagements address ecological issues.
As an internationally acclaimed art practitioner, Okore has been involved in numerous participatory art projects and exhibitions designed to produce dialogue, artmaking and an awareness of current environmental issues. Working largely with eco-based materials, Okore uses food-based bioplastic materials to create delicate works of art that are ecologically centered.
Okore has a B.A degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (First Class Honors, 1999), and an MA and MFA at the University of Iowa (2004 and 2005 respectively). Added to numerous national and international awards, Okore is a recipient of the 2012 Fulbright Scholar Award. Her works were featured in important exhibitions at the Museum of Art and Design, New York; Tang Museum of Art, Skidmore College, NY; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Art, New York; Spelman Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta; Museu Afro Brasil, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, and Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, NY, and Musée des Civilizations Noires, Dakar, Senegal, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Okore is currently part of the 2021 Bruges Triennial Exhibition, Belgium.
What activities will the Creators Fund support you to undertake?
The Creators Fund will enable me to expand my creative and participatory research with bioplastic. With this opportunity, I can purchase various tools and materials required to transform fruit and vegetable peels into bioplastic sheets, paste and paint. I am looking forward to producing new and ambitious work and installations that are inspired by the exchanges, storytelling, and feedback from participants. At the end of the project, I hope to publish a book that details and documents the creative processes, research findings and new visual works. Courtesy of the fund, I will distribute copies to art centers and libraries across Victoria.
Can you talk us through what your work routine will look like with the help of a creator's fund grant?
I hope to devote more days to developing ideas and making art in the studio while planning the online engagements for my project. Without the financial pressures, I will acquire the materials and equipment I need to emulsify and dry the bioplastic on a larger scale. After the first set of bioplastics are created, and participants have engaged visually with the bioplastic through online video conferencing, I will create new bioplastic pieces that will yield an exhibition at the end.
Where would you like to see yourself and your career at the end of this process?
I would imagine that the social engagements enabled by the funds will expand my network of collaborators, friends, and critical peers. More importantly, I would be better versed in working with, thinking with, and provoking people with bioplastic materials. I will certainly be a better artist, researcher, and teacher, at the end of this process.