Guest Projects Digital and Yinka Shonibare Foundation are excited to announce Chiizii as the recipient of a new pilot Digital Research Residency. The initiative was conceived with the intention of providing an emerging, UK based African and/or Caribbean diaspora curator or artist, with an opportunity to lead a collaborative research project investigating the intersection of art and design, ecology and food or migration and identity.
The themes and concept were inspired by the two unique buildings that lie at the heart of Guest Artists Space, the newly launched residency project in Nigeria developed by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA. The Lagos site, designed by Elsie Owusu, is a blend of Brutalist sensibilities and traditional Nigerian design that centres on community gathering. The second space, designed by Papa Omotayo of MOE+, has been constructed from earth bricks and sits on a lush 54-acre Ecology Green Farm.
The three-month residency will be segmented into a two month research period followed by a one-month digital public-facing programme. Upon her selection for the residency, we spoke to Chiizii briefly about her practice and aspirations for the project.
N’ime Kitchen (2018). Paper and digital collage.
What is the current focus of your research and practice?
The current focus of my research and practice addresses the following questions: How have Igbos used art to exchange food information? How can art be used as an accessible tool for nutritional and educational enrichment?
What drew you to this Digital Research Residency and how do you think it will inform your wider practice?
I recognized the alignment between the brief and the research I’m personally conducting. My current research explores the connection of art, design, migration, food, ecology and identity; all terms that were used verbatim in the guidelines. I can see the experience of the residency inspiring refinement, development and greater structure in how I record and share my practice. I also see it supporting me in expanding my aim to have my practice serve as an educational resource.
Can you give an insight into how you might shape the research and development period and public programme?
During the research and development period, I plan on recording my process of making. I am an interdisciplinary artist working with collage, textiles, painting and more. I’m learning new crafts such as ceramics, woodworking and casting. My practice is supported by interviews, travel, photography, and reading, basically, all types of research. This would all be video and audio recorded to share insight into how I get from A to B. I’m also interested in collating the research I reference online, creating family trees for my outcome that outline where the pieces “come from”. During the public programme, this would all be launched online and in-person potentially through an installation.
Ofe Nsala (2019). Acrylic paint, paper, oil pastel, screenprint & coloured pencil on wood.
Chiizii is an interdisciplinary artist, designer and researcher born in London and raised in New York and Igbo. Working heavily with but not limited to painting, collage and textile design, her work centres the specificities of Igbo, Nigerian and African experiences and histories. Her research aims to establish the significance of art in the communication and maintenance of Igbo food culture as well as the use of making art as a learning method and presenting art as a teaching method. Recent shows include RA Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy 2021, Collective Processes Gucci Circolo 2021, Blacklisted: An Indefinite Revolution and Christie's 2020.
Portrait of Chiizii
The Digital Research Residency has been developed in partnership with Yinka Shonibare Foundation, Guest Projects Digital, University of the Arts London, The Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN) and its Director Professor Paul Goodwin.
The project is generously supported by the Genesis Foundation.
Banner image: Bia Ego One? (2018). Paper and digital collage. All images courtesy of the artist.