Staying With the Trouble: Becoming More Connected to the Earth Through Loss

An Artist Lecture with Nnenna Okore

Nnenna Okore will reflect on social alienation during the COVID lockdown and how it led to her discovery of new ways to connect with the natural environment through bioplastic art exploration. In the face of many challenges and devastation brought on by ecological changes, Okore will discuss one of her major influences, feminist theorist Donna Haraway, who argued that we might stay with the trouble of living and dying together on the damaged earth by provoking thoughtful solutions and building a more livable future.

Before the lecture begins, we invite you to view a collaborative, curricular installation of a special selection of the Johnson Museum of Art’s collection. The installation was developed by Alison Rittershaus, the Johnson Museum’s Lynch Postdoctoral Associate in Curricular Engagement; artist Nenna Okore; Lori Leonard, Chair of the Department of Global Development and the students in her class, the “Circular Economy Seminar.” You can view the installation in the newly renovated Sukenik Gallery, a space dedicated to interdisciplinary teaching and learning with the Johnson Museum’s permanent collection.

About the Artist

Nnenna Okore is an Australian-born Nigerian artist who lives and works in Chicago at North Park University. Through her artistic, pedagogic, and social practice, she addresses ecological issues by engaging in public dialogue, artmaking, and an awareness of current environmental issues. Working largely with eco-based materials, Okore creates delicate works out of bioplastic materials to raise awareness about waste and sustainable practices in artmaking.

Okore has a B.A. from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka [N-su-ka], an M.A. and MFA from the University of Iowa; and a Ph.D. from Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). Added to her numerous national and international merits, Okore is a recipient of the 2012 Fulbright Scholar Award and Creative Victoria Creators Fund Award from Australia. Her works have been featured in major exhibitions at the Museum of Art and Design, NY; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Art, New York; The Spelman Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta; Museu Afro Brasil, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the 2021 Brugge Triennial; the 2021 Chengdu International Biennial in China; Moody Center of Art (Rice University); and the Bradbury Art Museum. Her large-scale fiber art installation, titled ‘Spirit Dance’ is currently on view at the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art.

This event is co-sponsored by the Johnson Museum of Art and the Department of Global Development.

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