Nigerian-American artist’s message at GU-Q event spotlighted interconnections between energy, culture and society.

Nigerian-American visual artist and writer Victor Ehikhamenor’s artwork was recently featured in Georgetown University Qatar’s (GU-Q) carefully curated art collection for its Global Energy Cultures Hiwaraat forum.

Celebrated for his perceptive and vivid pieces with strong links to his cultural background – the international African diaspora and the postcolonial politics of Nigeria – Victor’s artworks earned him the position of GU-Q’s first artist-in-residence.

Safwan M. Masri, Dean of GU-Q, commented: “GU-Q’s selection of Ehikhamenor is a wise one, for he shares this opinion on connecting academia with art.” Throughout his journey, Victor’s passion for arts grew alongside his interest in environmental issues as evidenced by his involvement in the Energy Humanities Research Initiative at the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS), which strives to encourage original scholarly discussions on the significance of energy in daily life. He was one of the three artists who represented his home country, Nigeria, at the first Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.

His work has been showcased at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, UK, and the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York, USA.

Victor’s views are reflected in his artwork, which provides a political account of African life, examining the continent’s position within international relations while advocating against Nigerian political riots and in favour of good governance.

His piece, ‘For Those Who Slept in the Dark with Identifiable Ghosts’, was created for GU-Q’s forum in a temporary art studio on campus, where university affiliates had the chance to visit and engage with the artist during his open hours. Despite facing time restrictions in the completion of his piece, he still managed to immerse and integrate himself in the environment by observing the community and local museums of Qatar.

His work is currently on display in the Company House foyer in Msheireb Museums, consisting of charcoal, graphite and acrylic on tent canvas, sustainable materials which aid in critiquing the present vulnerability of the environment.

Speaking on his experience he said: “It is that human touch, that community, that coming together, that ties the things together.”

Victor believes that energy is not only connected to geopolitics, economics, and science, but is also intrinsic with human identity.

Speaking at the forum he said: “The Global South should not be bullied by the Global North; they are mostly responsible for polluting the world. The Global South now carries the burden of the West, but this should not detract from our attention towards drought and other major environmental issues.” ✤