What is the position of African expatriates in contemporary Germany/Europe? That is the question which Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh addresses in his first large solo exhibition. For this occasion he has transformed the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden into several auditory experiences. Ten loudspeakers playing “The Song of the Germans” form the start of the show. What is unusual about this is that the members of a Berlin choir, Bona Deus, are not singing the anthem’s lyrics in German but in Douala, Igbo, Ewondo and other African languages – the native languages of the choir’s members.
In his works Emeka Ogboh examines the theme of immigration. He also incorporates his own experiences from living in the cities of Lagos and Berlin. Emeka Ogboh has won several awards for his art works. For this exhibition at the Kunsthalle he has produced several site-specific works, which revolve around our sense of taste. For example, he has brewed a Baden-Baden variety of his legendary beer “Sufferhead Original”. The brewing process is informed by conversations which he had with people of African origin about their taste experiences. What is the taste of Baden-Baden, and which tastes are missing? These gustatory experiences have helped him develop a recipe for this stout beer, and have initiated the critical interrogation of concepts such as citizenship and identity. On the premises of the splendid Baden-Baden Casino he has shot a TV commercial for his beer. Its protagonists are people with an African background who live in the town of Baden-Baden and its surrounding areas. Collectively they create the portrait of a society which is self-confident about its roots, influences and interstices. The Kunsthalle would especially like to thank the many contributors who have made this project possible.
Sound Engineering by Justin Geller (Strangewool Labs)