Karikpo: Holy Star Boyz is a continuation of Zina Saro-Wiwa’s exploration into the world of masquerade in the Niger Delta, specifically the antelope-inspired Karikpo masquerade that is unique to the Ogoni people. In this series, Saro-Wiwa has reinvented the mask and used them as motifs to explore a range of personal emotions and socio-political questions.
Her first work Karikpo Pipeline – a five-channel video – transposed the boyish, athletic and acrobatic performance of the masquerade onto remnants of the oil industry dotted around the Ogoniland landscape. This new series of lightbox works express the ways the industry has impacted and transformed social performances and is a meditation on hybridity, alienation, education and diaspora. Although the masks themselves are cast from an actual traditional karikpo mask, these new breeds are made of a petroleum-based resin. And whilst they appear translucent they are far heavier than their wooden predecessor and do not allow for the acrobatic performance that is traditional for Karikpo dancers. The color of the masks reference the colors worn by industrial labourers and penal dwellers in the Niger Delta and around the world.
All images in this series are framed lightboxes: Duratrans C-prints mounted on plexi placed on a wooden framed lightbox. Switch and dimmer attached. 20″x30″ or 40″x60″. A short selection of the series is presented below.