ARTFORUM: Portia Malatjie on Frida Orupabo

Portia Malatjie, ARTFORUM, May 1, 2023
Norwegian Nigerian artist Frida Orupabo grounds the act of waiting as an unacknowledged by-product of systematic exclusion, inequality, and displacement. She highlights the correlation between waiting and the legacies of subjugation-based structures such as colonialism and apartheid as they pertain to Black lives. While the artist may have titled a recent solo show at Stevenson: Cape Town “I’ve been here for days,” Orupabo chooses not to wait for days (let alone decades) for historical ills to be rectified, and instead proposes fantastic alternatives to the limited and exclusionary mainstream accounts of our communal past. Through experiments that open different modes of seeing and unseeing, she offers a path to liberate the imaging of Black women and their bodies from centuries-long violence.

This year she was named one of four finalists (coincidentally, alongside Jafa) for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. As part of the award, her work is currently on view at the Photographer’s Gallery in London.


Portia Malatjie, ARTFORUM, May 2023

Image: Frida Orupabo, Batwoman, 2021 © Frida Orupabo Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin, Stockholm, Mexico City
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