A painted scene of boats packed with people on a dark blue sea full of movement, as if there are large waves. In the background, there is a crowded beach and on the horizon a city-scape lit up in fiery hues, featuring familiar monuments from cities across the world. Ghostly faces loom from deep blue vegetation in the foreground, and in the sky above.

The Asahi Shimbun Displays

Featuring new works by Enotie Ogbebor

Perilous journeys
reflections on migration

Exhibition / 27 July – 24 September 2023

Past exhibition

27 July – 24 September 2023

Room 3

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This compelling display featured works by contemporary artists from Nigeria and Mexico that reflected on the loss of people and culture through the impact of human trafficking and unsafe migration.

With a specific focus on Edo State in Nigeria, which has recorded an extremely high number of migrants, the display featured works by Enotie Ogbebor, a multi-disciplinary artist based in Benin City. Many migrants have become the target of trafficking gangs, some losing their lives while making journeys across the Sahara and Mediterranean. Enotie created a large-scale painting for this display, inspired by these migrations, which highlighted the personal tragedies involved in human trafficking.

Another of Enotie's works, a recently-cast brass sculpture, drew on iconic images popularly associated with Queen Mother Idia from the historic Kingdom of Benin. It also refered to the British military expedition against Benin City in 1897, the lives lost and the wider associated human tragedy, as well as the looting of objects from the royal palaces. This piece drew attention to the consequent loss of cultural knowledge that Enotie, who is actively engaged in current debates around the repatriation of objects from the Kingdom of Benin, believes has contributed to the current migrant crisis experienced in Edo State. 

Enotie's works here also celebrated the dynamism of artistic activity by young people in Benin City as well as the skills and knowledge of the brass casters who maintain the 500-year-old tradition of lost-wax casting.

These pieces were juxtaposed with a powerful work by Mexican artist Betsabeé Romero, who frequently uses discarded bus tyres as her canvas. Elevated through carved and gilded figures that reflect on controversial responses to migration on the American continent, this installation aimed to represent the humanity and dignity of migrants globally.

Exhibition supporter

 Supported by

The Asahi Shimbum logo

These displays were made possible by the support of The Asahi Shimbun Company, longstanding corporate sponsors of the British Museum. The Asahi Shimbun is a Japanese leading newspaper and the company also provides a substantial information service via the internet. The company has a century-long tradition of philanthropic support, notably staging key exhibitions in Japan on art, culture and history from around the world. In addition to the Asahi Shimbun Displays, The Asahi Shimbun Company is a committed supporter of the British Museum touring exhibition programme in Japan, and funder of The Asahi Shimbun Gallery of Amaravati sculpture in Room 33a.

The Asahi Shimbun Displays

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