VR Exhibition Visits

Wilfred Ukpong: Niger-Delta / Future-Cosmos

POSTED: 22 February 2024

Take a virtual tour of highlights from Wilfred Ukpong's exhibition at Autograph, providing visual meditations on the environmental crisis in the Niger Delta

VR visit


Utilising aspects of Afrofuturism and mysticism, artist Wilfred Ukpong creates compelling and poetic reflections on the crisis of environmental degradation and exploitation in the Niger Delta. Drawing on historical and personal archives, ecology politics and indigenous environmentalism, his work demonstrates how artmaking can be used as a tool for social empowerment and to confront continued, aggressive colonial practices.

Once a major producer of palm oil for British colonisers, the Niger Delta is considered the mainstay of the Nigerian economy for its large oil reserves and its rich biodiversity due to the presence of rivers, mangroves, freshwater forests, and marine estuaries. In recent years, the region has been at the centre of environmental and social justice campaigns, challenging the pollution caused by major spills and flares at the hands of oil and gas industry giants.

The works in the exhibition are all set in the Niger Delta, Ukpong’s homeland. Driven by a profound desire to effect change, the artist worked with more than two hundred young people from marginalised, oil-producing communities to collectively address the historical and environmental issues in the oil-rich region. The resulting photographs and film powerfully reference local rituals, ceremonial motifs, and symbols interwoven into a complex future cosmology.

Through a futuristic lens, Ukpong underscores the need to understand the detrimental impact of this extreme extraction on both people and land.

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about the artist

Wilfred Ukpong

Wilfred Ukpong is French Nigerian interdisciplinary artist and researcher whose distinctive socially engaged practice utilises several interwoven mediums including photography, film, sculpture, performance and creative workshops to tackle pertinent social issues with community participation and intervention.

Ukpong’s works have been exhibited at Alliance Française/Mike Adenuga Centre (Nigera), FotoFest, Houston (USA), Institut Français du Nigeria Abuja (Nigeria), MARKK Museum Hamburg (Germany), Pipe Factory Glasgow (UK), Royal Society of Arts, London (UK), Welt Museum Vienna (Austria) amongst others. His long-term project Blazing Century 1 received a special grant from the Prince Claus Fund Amsterdam (2010); his film Future World (2017) won the Golden City Gates Excellence Award at ITB Berlin (2018). Ukpong received his BA/MA in Fine Arts from Ecole Supérieure d'Art Lorient, France and his PhD from Oxford Brookes University (UK). He lives and works between Oxford (UK), Clermont-Ferrand (France), and Eket (Nigeria)

Follow the artist on Instagram.

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part of the exhibition


Wilfred Ukpong: Niger-Delta / Future-Cosmos

16 Feb – 1 Jun 2024
Free exhibition

Tickets and more

Images on page: 1) Wilfred Ukpong. Courtesy the artist. 2) Wilfred Ukpong, The Advent of the Visionaries-A Screen to Behold, from the series Blazing Century 1: Niger-Delta/Future-Cosmos, 2017.