Diana Ejaita’s practice encompasses installation, illustration, and textile design to reinvigorate visual storytelling traditions of her African lineage. As a Nigerian-Italian diasporic artist, Ejaita’s works are concerned with shaping notions of belonging while also revitalizing aesthetic genealogies from the African continent. This oscillation between worlds is reflected in her visual reinterpretation of stories, such as those by Nigerian authors Amos Tutuola and Chinua Achebe, or narrative techniques found in West African textiles. Working with recordings made during residencies in Nigeria and Burkina Faso, Ejaita centres the intergenerational power of stories passed on via oral traditions. For O Quilombismo, the artist has created a mural with a series of interlaced figures engaged in the movements of storytelling. Bodies are recurring motifs in this series, emerging and transforming across the pictorial space. Akin to the West African narratives Ejaita engages with, symbols also play an important role in her work, acting as bridges to spiritual dimensions. With its magic-based fable landscapes, the mural summons visitors to look beyond the visual and rather engage with the ancestral channels it opens.
Commissioned by Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), co-produced by Diana Ejaita and HKW, 2023.
Work in the exhibition: Bodies, Tales, and Landscapes. Progression III (2023), poster prints, 42 x 59.4 cm each. Courtesy of the artist