remember saro-wiwa is a ground-breaking visual arts project, that combines the power of art and activism. The vehicle of the project is a Living Memorial to the Nigerian artist and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, created by British artist Sokari Douglas-Camp CBE.
The Living Memorial is a life-size steel Bus, featuring the names of the Ogoni 9 who were executed by the Nigerian military government. Carved into the Bus is a quotation from Ken Saro-Wiwa:
“I ACCUSE THE OIL COMPANIES OF PRACTISING GENOCIDE AGAINST THE OGONI”
Please view the slideshow above for a snapshot of the Living Memorial being created, unveiled and toured across the UK.
“Artists should be at the centre of society keeping alive a utopian vision, because society will not improve if the people envisioning a better society are politicians.”
The role of the artist in society is critical to communicate the injustices experienced daily by people. Art can provide political expression beyond rhetoric, propaganda, and action, inspiring those formerly untouched by an issue to become engaged.
Many in Britain are unaware of how the oil and gas we consume daily contributes to the suffering of communities and the repression of activists campaigning for justice. In 2004, PLATFORM gathered a diverse coalition of organisations and individuals to ensure that their courageous struggle of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni people will be remembered through a ground breaking public art project, supported by the Arts Council England.
This gathering launched remember saro-wiwa, a project to create a Living Memorial to Ken Saro-Wiwa, a unique piece of public art to keep alive the issues that Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni fought and died for. The Living Memorial is Britain’s first ever mobile memorial, and has toured 9 sites over two years. The project is currently making plans to establish a permanent site for the memorial in central London.
The Living Memorial is not be a monument to a finished episode. It is an initiative that highlights to London – a major oil city – the living struggle for resources, and the global struggle for social and environmental justice today.
An open commission:
An international process of open submissions invited inspiring ideas for the project. A shortlist of five proposals, selected by a panel, was exhibited in the run-up to 10th November 2005, the tenth anniversary of the execution of Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues. Alongside the Living Memorial will be a two-year interactive programme, which animates the whole process through talks, workshops, publications, and the website.
The Living Memorial has local, national and international significance, a project that connects and communicates, provokes and inspires, remembering the past, shaping the future.