Flags of Unsung Countries is a photographic installation exploring new ceremonies, migration and embodied archives. Photographed in Canada and Nigeria, the work functions as a rite of passage. The exhibition charts the process of understanding a father’s struggles as an African immigrant challenged with mental illness living in the Canadian prairies. The layered images intersect geography and memory in a search for a location of belonging. The work asks the questions: How do we reconcile displacement with a sense of rootedness on adopted homelands? What is required of a home - is it a geography, a structure, a memory? Do we choose to belong or does it choose us? Flags of Unsung Countries uses photography as a language and an archive to map a path of the African diaspora. Using the medium of photography, for this exhibition, Liz Ikiriko documents a personal journey to learn more about her father, returning to meet family in Nigeria and places in Canada where she has lived. Her deeply personal and moving work explores memory, family and identity, and reimagines boundaries between past and present.
Liz Ikiriko is a biracial Nigerian Canadian independent photo editor and curator. She is an MFA candidate in the Criticism and Curatorial Practice graduate program at OCAD University. Born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, she has worked as a photo editor for a number of publications including The Ethnic Aisle, Toronto Life, Macleans, Canadian Business, Today's Parent and AWAY magazines. Ikiriko has juried awards and reviewed portfolios at OCAD University, Ryerson University, Scotiabank CONTACT Photo Festival and the Flash Forward Annual Competition. As a curator she has worked with Wedge Curatorial Projects, The National Music Centre and Sheridan College. Her curatorial work is centred on the practice of care, addressing hidden histories and foregrounding platforms for underprivileged artists.
Liz Ikiriko, Homegoing I, 2017, digital C-print, 2017. Photo courtesy of the artist.