The Politics of Fabrics

The Politics of Fabrics

An exhibition of new work by Samuel Nnorom

The Politics of Fabrics brings together a new body of work developed by artist Samuel Nnorom during his residency at Guest Artists Space Foundation. The sculptural pieces, created almost entirely from pre-owned garments, include an ambitious 25ft site-specific intervention that was hung on the exterior of the G.A.S. Lagos building.


Exterior view of Samuel's urban scale installation.


The starting point for The Politics of Fabrics was the city of Lagos and the thriving local markets that are frequently dominated by imported second-hand clothes from the West. Nnorom had observed an uncomfortable dichotomy; more often than not the public perception of these garments is that they are aspirational because of their proximity to the West and designer culture, however, their popularity compounds an already devastating environmental impact whilst simultaneously discouraging the use of locally produced fabrics. 


From L-R: City of Rose (2023), I Dey My Lane (2023).


“I recently became interested in second-hand and cast-off fabrics popularly referred to as Okirika in Nigeria. Through my work, I wanted to interrogate the social, political, and economic impact they have on Africa and how their existence limits the development of our local textile industry.”


Installation image from The Politics of Fabrics.


The works presented in the exhibition are a slight stylistic departure from the bubbles that have become Nnorom’s signature. The application, which has qualities that are both painterly and energetic is interrupted by linear gesticulations that create a tense dialogue between release and constraint. 


Nah Mumu Dey Go Butik (2023).


“When I laid these fabrics I wanted to suggest how tied people are to them, it’s like a form of restraint. The movement in the work echoes the chaotic congestion in Lagos as the industrial and economic environment that these clothes live in. Issues of consumerism, neo-colonialism, environmental waste and industrialisation, alongside their relationship to the human condition continue to remain central to my visual discourse. ” 


Samuel Nnorom at work during his residency at G.A.S. Foundation.


Guests at the private viewing of The Politics of Fabrics.


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