Reading Assignment 2: Bright Ugochukwe Eke / by Clarissa Gonzalez

Bright Ugochukwe Eke is an eco artist from Nigeria.

Nigeria is a country in Western Africa, where petroleum is a major industry.  This seemingly unchecked industry causes a lot of pollution issues in the ground, atmosphere, and water supply of the area.  After contracting a skin infection from acid rain, Eke was inspired to create work about the issue at hand. 

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Eke is concerned about the relationship between humanity and the Earth.  He however blames modernism and the globalization of the market place.  No longer are humans connected to the Earth; but are more interested in instant gratification, with no consideration of the price it holds.  Part of the issue is that there is no education or care about the environment.  Due to the petroleum industry, there is no natural sources of clean drinking water available.  Thus drinking water is available for sale in water sachets. These cheaply made plastic packaging ultimately ends up thrown on the ground after its use. Thus creating an endless cycle of pollution.

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Starting in 2006, Eke started creating works out of these discarded water sachets. Initially he was filling them with acid rain and hanging them, making them into poisonous raindrops.  In 2008, he created an installation called Shields.  Eke wished to create something that gives protection from the rain. This creating objects emulating rain coats and umbrellas, but completely made out of water sachets. 

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Eke has a concern with the community and the land.  When the work was shown in Lagos, he had a group of locals wear the coats and use the umbrellas around town. This is all in the hopes of being an education to the community about the environment and living greener.

These "shields" act as a barrier of protection.  This interest of a barrier or boundary continues into Eke's later works.  Thematically Eke is speaking on the politics of water. As clean water becomes more precious, different locales or boundaries take either higher or even lower considerations on the cleanliness of our drinking water.