Frida Orupabo is nominated for her exhibition I have seen a million pictures of my face and still I have no idea, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (26 February – 29 May 2022).
Frida Orupabo (b. 1986, Norway) creates photographic collages that take the shape of fragmented, Black, mostly female-bodied figures, exploring questions of race, sexuality and identity. Orupabo, a Norwegian Nigerian artist and sociologist, grounds her inquiry in her own experience of cultural belonging.
Orupabo’s source material is drawn from digitised colonial archives, social media platforms and online marketplaces. A process that begins online is resolved by hand as she lays one printed image segment on top of another. This reassembling layer by layer is a complex and poetic manoeuvre that simultaneously denounces one-dimensional depictions of Black lives.
Orupabo began posting on Instagram as @nemiepeba in 2013. The platform functioned for her as a personal archive, an expressive outlet and an ordering system. Her collaged cut-outs hold our gaze and invite various readings of the stories and lives of the people depicted, many of whom are entirely absent from the archives. In this way Orupabo invites a consideration of how photography significantly contributes to the formation and perpetuation of colonial power relations and violence.
My work is a way of sorting things, sorting emotions and thoughts I have. It's a way of speaking...Frida Orupabo
Orupabo’s practice is less an excavation than an excision. Instead of attempting to find where Black women and girls are in the archive, she repositions their image to show that they are beyond the sight of the archival record.Awa Konaté - DBPFP 2023 catalogue
Frida Orupabo’s solo exhibitions include Fotomuseum Winterthur; Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo; Kunsthall Trondheim, Trondheim; Huis Marseille, Amsterdam; Portikus, Frankfurt am Main and Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo. Orupabo participated in the 58th Venice Biennale exhibition as well as the 34th São Paulo Biennial.
Together with Ming Smith and Missylanyus, Orupabo presented her work in Arthur Jafa’s exhibition ‘A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions’ at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague, Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin and the Serpentine Gallery, London.
Frida Orupabo’s first monograph was published by Sternberg Press on the occasion of her exhibition at Kunsthall Trondheim in 2021.