Houstonia Magazine (Sept 2015)


Standing near her evocative exhibit at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum, British-Nigerian mixed-media artist Zina Saro-Wiwa is strong and proud. A blue shawl wraps around her shoulders, reminiscent of the veil that drapes over a girl in the trailer for Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance?, her just-opened solo exhibition that highlights human rights in her native Niger Delta.

Rights activists may know her last name from her father, Ken Saro-Wiwa—a writer, activist, and Nobel nominee who was executed for his efforts to safeguard human rights and the environment in the region. “I wanted this show to explore the Niger Delta in a different way and to challenge the idea of what environmentalism is—and what the war against oil is. Because there are many battlefronts,” she explains. “It’s not just about oil slicks. It’s about the emotional, spiritual, psychological—these are all fronts where the environment or pollution might impact you.”

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