Ngozi Schommers (*1974, Enugu, Nigeria) draws from her cross-cultural experience to create mixed-media paintings, collages and sculptures that focus on subjects of memories, culture and identity. Her work begins with collections of paper, discarded gift wrap and archival material, cut into confetti, creating a vast color palette, which applied to paper dot by dot, collectively creating an image. Schommers uses the body as well as memories of her childhood in South-East Nigeria when portraying women she encounters and interviews in West Africa to reflect on issues of female identity. In the exhibited works, full human figures or fragmented bodies occupy off-centre positions, floating, swirling, or sitting alone in space. Sometimes these figures are placed on colourful backgrounds surrounded by bright flowers or patterns. White backgrounds and seemingly ‘unfinished’ elements are deliberate. They give the impression that there are invisible elements that open up parallel and multiple narratives transcending through the works. For her self-portraits such as Midnight Blue (2021) and Achaluego (2017), Schommers draws her mirrored image onto paper until, in the process of copying and recopying, a modified or new version of herself appears. This mirroring and distorting process is not only her way of seeing herself, but of seeing others. Living in-between countries — Germany, Ghana and Nigeria— Schommers incorporates experiences of multiple locations in her work. What appears separate is connected. In Headgear I–III and Mmanwu, Schommers looks in-depth at how hair styles shape the identity of Africans. Engaging with pre-colonial Igbo hairstyles, Schommers brings different hairstyles from different times together to create new forms in a conceptualised space where the understanding of identity and the ideals of beauty are far removed from representations constructed in recent times.

Back to Top