Wilfred Ukpong’s practice explores aspects of Afrofuturism and mysticism combining compelling and poetic reflections on the current crisis of environmental degradation and exploitation in the Niger Delta. Drawing from historical and personal archives, Ukpong's meditations on the crisis demonstrate how artmaking can be used as a tool for social empowerment and to challenge colonial narratives.
Autograph is developing a new exhibition of Ukpong's work for 2024. We will update this page as the project develops - join our newsletter to get the latest from Autograph in your inbox.
FUTURE-WORLD-EXV is set in a speculative future, which follows an oilman who becomes torn between pursuing his industrial duties and haunting visions of the escalating environmental crisis. He finds his fate in the hands of a colony of indigenous people who live in a water environment and worship a sea goddess.
Over the course of 16 minutes, FUTURE-WORLD-EXV explores and re-imagines the art of filmmaking as an extended practice with a social focus. The film unfolds a poetic and fragmented dreamscape narrative, tied together with text, original musical scores, and interlays of archival footage in the absence of dialogue.
Wilfred Ukpong (PhD) is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher who incorporate a studio-based artistic practice - working between photography, film, video, sculpture, installation, sound, and performance - with connective social engagement, tackling pertinent social issues with community participation and intervention.
His long-term project in the Niger Delta, Blazing Century 1, received a special grant from the Prince Claus Fund Amsterdam and has been exhibited in prestigious institutions among Alliance Française/Mike Adenuga Centre Lagos, Institut français du Nigeria Abuja, FotoFest Biennial 2020/2022 Houston, Pipe Factory Glasgow, MARKK Museum Hamburg, and Welt Museum Vienna.
His short film FUTURE-WORLD (2017) won the Golden City Gates Excellence Award at ITB Berlin in 2018. It was screened at Mash Johannesburg and David Krut Projects Johannesburg/Cape Town and to the Senate of Nigeria to encourage a dialogue about environmental change in the Niger Delta, the artist's place of birth in Southern Nigeria. Ukpong extended his short film into FUTURE-WORLD-EXV (2019), shown in the 2021 Essay Film Festival London, Autograph ABP London, Royal Society of Art London, Welt Museum Vienna and Public Ecology Film Festival Cape Town.
Ukpong received his BA/MA Fine Art Degree – with magna cum laude – from Ecole Supérieure d'Art Lorient, France, and his PhD from Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom. He lives and works out of Oxford (UK), Clermont-Ferrand (France), and Eket (Nigeria).
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Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list