Wilfred Ukpong’s Blazing Century 1 exhibition opens at Institut français

Wilfred Ukpong’s Blazing Century 1 exhibition opens at Institut français


“Blazing Century 1”, a solo exhibition by interdisciplinary artist Wilfred Ukpong has opened at Institut français du Nigéria in Abuja.

The exhibition according to a statement, addresses historical and contemporary socio-environmental issues in the impoverished oil-rich region of the Niger Delta. Between 2010 and 2021, Nigerian-born artist Wilfred Ukpong worked with more than 100 local youths in marginalised oil-producing communities to create a series of Afro-futuristic art photographic images and short films which are featured in this exhibition.

The exhibition held a reception Saturday 19 March on the same day the artist facilitated a five-hour photography workshop that explored the use of lens-based work in digital photography, video and filmmaking as a form of social practice.

After dedicating years of rigorous academic research and artistic interventions through community projects, working alongside rural Niger Delta youths in creative empowerment initiatives and using both art and film as tools of development and social change, Ukpong, the United Kingdom-based multidisciplinary artist, academic researcher and award-winning filmmaker returns with an extended body of work entitled, Blazing Century 1.

The show features art-photography and video installation showing Ukpong’s award-winning art film, Future World.


Spanning between 2011 and 2017, Blazing Century-1 is the first installment in a 10-part multi-faceted body of work. Each part is set within a geographical location often embroiled in social and environmental devastation and is developed on several platforms, including, sculpture, photographic and sound installations, performance intervention, film screening, music concert, creative vision workshop, lecture and talk session.

With a special grant from Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development in Amsterdam and academic support from Social Sculpture Research Unit in Oxford, Ukpong, in 2010, returned to the Niger Delta region, the place of his birth to engage disenfranchised youths in marginalised oil-producing communities through a series of creative and artistic workshops that cultivates strategies for developing agents of socio- environmental change. “My work is a platform for conversation; a catalyst for transformation and change. I am more interested in advocacy and developing people’s careers and communities,” he said.

Ukpong draws together narratives addressing socio-political and ecological crises, the interpretation of history, the shock and promises of capitalism, industrialisation and new technologies, the tumult of cultural deficits and environmental challenges and the storytelling born of unique personal vision and communal experiences.

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