|Ken Saro Wiwa|
Twenty years after, a contemporary Nigerian artist, Victor Ehikhamen, remembers the Ogoni nine, who were executed by hanging on Friday, November 10, 1995, by the military administration of General Sani Abacha.
The installation exhibition titled; Wealth of Nations: Ogoni9, opened today, Friday, July 1, at the Ostrale'016 Exhibition of Contemporary Arts in Dresden, Germany.
|Wealth of Nations: Ogoni9,|
According to the artist, the exhibition “is to acknowledge history so that knowledge won't be executed by ignorance,” wrote Ehikhameno on his Facebook wall. The artist said it took him two weeks of dedication to install the work.
He revealed to Arts and Culture Place in a chat that the work will be moved to Poland in October, 2016. However, the artist says he is “not sure if he will exhibit the work in Nigeria due to sponsorship. “Shows are expensive to put together to make meaningful impact,” he said. But he is hopeful that some day “I can exhibit it in Nigeria.”
Is Ehikhameno related to any of the Ogoni nine? “Yes, I believe I am related to all nine of them by nationhood.”
On the 10th of November 1995, Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni patriots were hanged by the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha following a kangaroo trial that received world-wide condemnation. Ken Saro-Wiwa’s activities prior to his death and the execution have become pivotal points in the environmental justice movement in Nigeria and around the world.
"My Lord, we all stand before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas. I am appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people, who live on a richly-endowed land, distressed by their political marginalization and economic strangulation, angered by the devastation of their land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life and to a decent living determined to usher into this country as a whole, a fair and just democratic system, which projects every one and every ethnic group gives us all a valid claim to human civilisation" – Ken Saro Wiwa
Kenule "Ken" Beeson Saro Wiwa (10 October 1941 – 10 November 1995) was a Nigerian writer, television producer, environmental activist, and winner of the Right Livelihood Award and the Goldman Environmental Prize. Saro-Wiwa was a member of the Ogoni people, an ethnic minority in Nigeria whose homeland, Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta has been targeted for crude oil extraction since the 1950s and which has suffered extreme environmental damage from decades of indiscriminate petroleum waste dumping.
Initially as spokesperson, and then as president, of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Saro-Wiwa led a nonviolent campaign against environmental degradation of the land and waters of Ogoniland by the operations of the multinational petroleum industry, especially the Royal Dutch Shell company.
He was also an outspoken critic of the Nigerian government, which he viewed as reluctant to enforce environmental regulations on the foreign petroleum companies operating in the area.