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Work Samples

As Long As There Is Bone There Is Language

In reality, these things need to be said because this world will empty you before you even know you can be full. Before you know you can reach metamorphosis it will strip you of your alchemy. Beneath the erasure of our roots and at the base of our existence is a frequency that tells the story of our magic and our bounty. This AfroFrequency ignores the mechanical west and replaces it with the organic spirituality of African being. But we are taught that this essence is evil. Wrong. Shameful.

The Christening - Installation detail

This is a detail photo of my moving image installation piece The Christening. The piece is about the acceptance of loss without reconciliation. VR view: https://v21artspace.com/arit-emmanuela-etukudo-the-christening More info is in my Moving Image Installations project folder.

New world coming (from the Sankofa series)

Un-stretched canvas print. 32x48inches. 2021. This piece is part of my "Sankofa" collection which explores the journey to self-discovery through recovery and retrieval. The first photo signifies the turning of the head. The thought of turning your head to the back of your body is obviously painful but I wanted to highlight an emotional pain too. You’re deciding to go back to even the darkest parts of yourself and face them head on, converse with them and at times even battle them.

4 (from The Things It Carried series)

This series speaks about what the body holds, the change, the trauma, the identities. It follows the metaphysical body as it finds, interacts and forms with these other parts of itself. We see what is hidden, what breathes life into our other forms, what takes it away and so on.

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About Arit Emmanuela

Baltimore City

Arit Emmanuela Etukudo's picture
Arit Emmanuela Etukudo is a Nigerian-American Self-Portrait, Moving Image Installation, and Performance Artist. Her practice deals with the fluidity and metamorphosis of Black identity. She uses transformative dreaming to explore the ontology, mysticism, history, and transcendental realities that live at the root of African existence. She does this by transporting intimate moments within her body onto the physical and digital space. Etukudo earned her BA in Cinematic Arts from University of... more

The Things It Carried

The things it carried is a portrait of a body in process. It is peeled back body, unreleased body, dissipated body, healing body, courier body, forming body and much much more. And still, the woman, the soft fire woman grows till tall, till broken, till strong. She clasped her hands and screamed to God and prayed that the sun remain; even if it burned her even if it burned you, even if it melted the shadow from our bones. She prayed you the summer, breathed you in like solace (you, with your scar tissue body). But still, you outgrew her in you sleep without enough language to thank her.

 This, is what the sun won’t tell you about her body and all the things it carried.

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  • 4 (from The Things It Carried series)

    This series speaks about what the body holds, the change, the trauma, the identities. It follows the metaphysical body as it finds, interacts and forms with these other parts of itself. We see what is hidden, what breathes life into our other forms, what takes it away and so on.
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Moving Image Installations

Moving image installation pieces. Photos, Video, and Documentation

Save me father for I have lived. 5minutes 14seconds. 2019
The Christening. 3minutes 31seconds. 2019
The Problem of the Negrophiliac. 2minutes 14seconds. 2019

  • Save me father for I have lived

    “Save me father for I have lived” is an experimental documentary installation piece that discusses the connection between suffering and growth. It is a plea for comfort from a father who has left the earth as the different versions of the same child learn to live with this loss. For the installation of this piece. Viewers were ushered into a dark quiet room where they were asked to kneel infront of the screen, on cushions that were provided. Mimicking the Catholic church, this created a sense of being on holy ground. Viewers thus became witnesses to this holy plea for comfort.
  • The Christening

    This is the pain in stillness and the peace in loneliness that can only exist under water. It is ocean filled lungs and saltwater eyes, an alternative pleasure. This is the feeling before the surface. It is the moment in time that comes before the solitude of being a part of the world. “The Christening” was inspired by a moment where I nearly drowned in a swimming pool full of my family members.
  • Installation full view

    Virtual reality viewing: https://v21artspace.com/arit-emmanuela-etukudo-the-christening *Please enter the 2nd room
  • The Christening - Installation detail

    This is a detail photo of my moving image installation piece The Christening. The piece is about the acceptance of loss without reconciliation. VR view: https://v21artspace.com/arit-emmanuela-etukudo-the-christening More info is in my Moving Image Installations project folder.
  • Ceramic detail

    I placed hand sculpted clay masks in the water and allowed them to dissolve over the course of the exhibition, by the end of the exhibition a majority of the mask were completely melted while others only showed evidence of what used to be a face-like shape. The melted masks in the water discuss the feeling of an unknown yet evident loss, where I know that something was lost in the water that day but can’t recall what it was.
  • Sand detail

    Black sand was placed and piled up around the perimeter of the installation base. This created an unearthing effect, where it seemed as if this event has been lifted out of a different realm and placed within the space.
  • The Problem of the Negrophiliac (video 1)

    Navigating my black body through assemblies of white filled spaces. Party lights distort the room, turning faces from shadow to light then back again, but my face remains shadow. Hands reached towards me, touching my hair, my face, my skin. Trying to take me a part and put me back together like I’m puzzle pieces they could ever understand. Comparing my skin to whatever brown foods they can think of, describing my own hair to me, turning my body into a performance for their enjoyment.

Sankofa

This series is inspired by the metaphorical symbol of the Akpan people of Ghana. It is the belief that in order to move forward and plan for the future it is necessary to reveal, retrieve and understand the past. The series is a journey into the past through the self, a repossession of lost identity and a process of healing.

Work in progress*

  • New world coming (from the Sankofa series)

    Un-stretched canvas print. 32x48inches. 2021. This piece is part of my "Sankofa" collection which explores the journey to self-discovery through recovery and retrieval. The first photo signifies the turning of the head. The thought of turning your head to the back of your body is obviously painful but I wanted to highlight an emotional pain too. You’re deciding to go back to even the darkest parts of yourself and face them head on, converse with them and at times even battle them.
  • Go back and get it (from the Sankofa series)

    This piece is part of the "Sankofa" collection which explores the journey to self-discovery through recovery and retrieval. This is the first unlocking of the mind. In the background, behind this figures head we see an ouroboros which symbolizes an endless cycle of destruction and rebirth. This symbol is a foreshadowing of the endlessness of completing finding one’s self. That this unlocking that is happening is only the first of many. We go deeper and deeper into the self without knowing whether or not there is an end to it.

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Arit Emmanuela's Curated Collection

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