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Source : http://www.gasworks.org.uk

© Dilomprizulike


Born in 1960 in Enugu, Nigeria, as Dil Humphrey-Umezulike, Dilomprizulike is now known as the self-styled 'Junkman From Africa' and for his Junkyward Museum of Awkward Things situated in Lagos. Drawing materials from the piles of used surplus clothes found on the streets of African cities, he fashions installations and performances that look at what he describes as 'the alienated situation of the African in his own society.' Dilom's descriptions of the life of the 'city-Nigerian' echo Frantz Fanon's description in his book Black Skin, White Masks, of black alienation that arises during colonialism and the legacy of the colonial encounter, as well as the more contemporary phenomenon of globalisation. Writing about his installation Wear and Tear, Dilom states:

'Wear and Tear as a concept attempts to expose the often overlooked and
underrated elements of the African-Urban communal life which largely influence it. The alienated situation of the African in his own society becomes tragic. There is a struggle inside him, a consciousness of living with the complications of an imposed civilisation. He can no longer go back to pick up the fragments of his father's shattered culture; neither is he equipped enough to keep pace with the white-man's world.' (from Africas: The Artist and the City exhibition catalogue)

Dilomprizulike will spend one month with a studio at Gasworks as his base for work and research during his forthcoming project at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

This project will provide the opportunity for an encounter not only with a vast repository of fabrics and costumes in the collection but also with the legacy of European museum history and its subtle ties to colonial history. The Victoria and Albert Museum in turn, can only benefit from such an encounter in which it is envisaged that Dilom will, to invoke Sarat Maharaj's model of postcolonial re-writing, 'translate' the collection from an African viewpoint bringing into question the notion of cultural authenticity.

Text by Niru Ratnam


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