Issa Nyaphaga is a politically active visual artist and poet from Cameroon who was imprisoned and later forced out of his homeland for producing political cartoons that challenged the authority of a corrupt regime. His unique multi-disciplinary practice includes humorous drawings, collages and found object sculptures, graphic research, performance, and a painting technique he calls “capillarism,” which involves the incorporation of human hair.
In 1996, Nyaphaga departed for France, where he was granted political asylum, and where he has continued to establish himself as an artist. He is a vocal spokesperson for human rights and, to recognize his committed to helping refugees, he was invited to speak before the French National Assembly on the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees. He lives between France and the United States, and travels worldwide to perform and present his work.
Over the years, Nyaphaga has developed a philosophical performance concept that he calls “Urban Way,” which involves the ritualistic painting of his face, arms, and feet, while accompanied by live music, as an act of protest against his inability to return home freely. Each dot he paints represents people, and the lines between them represent interpersonal connections. These symbols remind him of the important lessons he learned as a child in the small village of his Tikar tribe, Nditam Ditam. This gesture will form the basis of his performance at The University of Winnipeg. He will also present a short documentary.
Gallery 1C03 and Global College (with assistance from CIDA Partnerships Branch) are pleased to welcome Nyaphaga to The University of Winnipeg and are grateful to Alliance Française du Manitoba for initiating this opportunity to witness the work of an artist so profoundly active as an advocate for human rights and social justice. Gallery 1C03 is also pleased to host Nyaphaga at a time coinciding with the presentation of an exhibition featuring political cartoons by Kainai First Nation artist, Everett Soop (1942 – 2001) -- both artists well demonstrate the potency of drawing as an effective tool for stimulating critical communication and inspiring social change.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Performance: 7:00 – 8:00; Discussion 8:00 – 8:30
Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, 3rd Floor Centennial Hall
University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Avenue
Members of the media are invited to arrange interviews with Nyaphaga on March 24, 25, and 26, 2009.
For more information please contact:
Milena Placentile, Art Curator, Gallery 1C03, University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Ave, Winnipeg MB R3B 2E9
204.786.9253 | m (dot) placentile (at) uwinnipeg (dot) ca
uwinnipeg.ca/index/artgallery-index | gallery1C03.blogspot.com
(Image: Issa Nyaphaga during a performance)