Artist Talk | Zina Saro-Wiwa: On Mourning and Memory

March 4, 2021 @ 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Smithsonian Zoom Room

Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of African Art present

Zina Saro-Wiwa: On Mourning and Memory (NMAfA)

Mourning is often a private, isolating experience. But when the occasions for grief stem from larger social forces, individual pain begins to intersect with the public and the global. Such is the case in the work of Zina Saro-Wiwa, which addresses mourning in response to state violence. The daughter of Nigerian activist and martyr Ken Saro-Wiwa, the artist was born in Nigeria, educated in England, and now lives between Los Angeles and Port Harcourt, Nigeria. It was when living in Brooklyn, NY that she, like so many other immigrants, came to terms with what she had lost in her country of birth. In the video Sarogua Mourning (11:37 min, 2011)–an incoming acquisition to the National Museum of African Art–we see Saro-Wiwa attempt to cry for her father for the first time since his murder. Join us for a screening of this important work followed by a conversation between the artist and curator Karen E. Milbourne.

Images: Courtesy of the Artist

This program is part of  “Viewfinder: Women’s Film and Video from the Smithsonian,”  a monthly virtual film screening and conversation series sponsored by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, Because of Her Story. This first sequence of selected works reflects on interiority—a particularly timely topic during this global pandemic. Visit for more information about upcoming events in this screening series.