Wana Udobang: ‘Dirty Laundry’ Installation and Performance at A Whitespace in Lagos

Wana Udobang presents ‘Dirty Laundry’, her first mixed media installation as a multidisciplinary creative. The title of the installation comes from her debut poetry album, an autobiographical work of the same name, and features poems screen printed on canvas hanging from laundry lines. The first gathering opens on April 28, 2022, at A Whitespace, Ikoyi, Lagos. 

Wana Udobang

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‘Dirty Laundry’ explores some recurring themes in Udobang’s work such as issues around womanhood, sexual and gender violence, feminine agency, healing and reimagination. Designed as an immersive experience, in which visitors walk through a space of hanging poems, the exhibition space becomes an intimate environment for examining personal narratives and experiences, histories and imaginaries, and a form of catharsis for the artist and the viewer. The title of the installation and the use of the words “hanging”, “dirty”, and “laundry” are deliberate metaphors taken from the phrase “hanging your dirty laundry in public”. This phrase, generally associated with shame, is subverted by Udobang, thus, creating a platform where people can freely have difficult discussions. At the core of this presentation is the power of words to cut through the silence and shame we carry from experiences that have often been inflicted by society.

In a statement to the press, Udobang said, “Every day, we see how our cultures and societies repress the voices of women and girls. We continue to lose women and girls to sexual and intimate partner violence.  I believe in Nina Simone’s statement that “an artist must reflect the times.” As an artist, I hope this exhibition is not only documenting and reflecting the insidious ways that women are violated in both our domestic and public lives but that it shows the ways we utilize imagination to heal.”

‘Dirty Laundry’ is a travelling show presented in collaboration with Ford Foundation and curated by Naomi Edobor. It will kick off in Lagos as a 3-day programme featuring the installation, artist talk and performance. Then, it will travel to two other cities across Nigeria as part of events celebrating this year’s women’s month and 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

Presentation Schedule

April 28│Opening event time – 2 pm

April 29 | General opening time – 12 pm | Panel talk – 3 pm 

April 30 | General opening time – 12 pm | Performance – 5 pm 

Admission is free. 

Wana Udobang is a writer, poet, performer and storyteller based between Lagos and London. She has produced three spoken word albums titled Dirty Laundry, In Memory of Forgetting and Transcendence. Her work as a performer has taken her across Africa, Europe and the United States. Some notable events and festivals she has worked with include the Edinburgh International Festival and Deutsches Museum in Germany. In 2021 she was awarded the International Writing Program (IWP) residency at the University of IOWA.

Feature image: Peg. © Petr Wallstein, courtesy of Wana Udobang 

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