To accompany Olukemi Lijadu’s exhibition Guardian Angel at V.O Curations, the artist will present a multi-sensory live performance. Building on her work as a DJ, Lijadu will play a live set to create a soundscape for the video work, weaving together music, sound and spoken word.
Commissioned by The ICA’s annual programme Image Behaviour 2022, Guardian Angel is a multi-channel film installation by Nigerian artist Olukemi Lijadu. Using personal experience within her practice, Lijadu often works with family members, friends and her community to explore questions about the histories and cultures that have shaped her. Told through the personal lens of the artist’s relationship with her late grandmother, Guardian Angel explores how Nigerian and western belief systems form relationships to religion and spirituality of post-colonial societies.
Borrowing from the form of an altarpiece in Christian churches, which traditionally depicts saints, biblical figures and events, the three-channel video features footage of the artist’s grandmother interwoven with material recorded in Lagos, Dakar and London, as well as found videos and personal archival imagery. The film is visually and sonically composed like a collage – dream-like footage from the studio cuts to landscapes, written text, depictions of angelic statues, and excerpts from music videos, TV interviews with African philosophers and colonial missionaries. The sonic layer features edited voicemails, music and spoken word fluidly mixed together. Presented in a setting evoking the divine through the use of draped fabrics, the film tells a nuanced and complex story about belief, love and loss.