Emalohi Iruobe is an artist, storyteller and memory-keeper. Her work presents a roadmap for personal deliverance and exploration through ritual and cultural transmissions, both contemporary and traditional. She probes trauma-informed, narrative approaches to personal and collective memory as a tool for healing. She explores the correlation between African spirituality, indigenous practices and social change; focusing on intersectional matters such as race, gender, mental health, identity and ancestry that impact her. She draws lines between ancestry, heritage and history as the basis of identity formation and a rejection of colonial systems of oppression by investigating and imagining how life could be without these systems. Her quest for healing from mental, spiritual and physical wounds caused by personal loss of her mother, collective loss from the Covid-19 pandemic and the general loss of identity, freedoms and spirituality drives her as an artist. Through sculpture, painting, installation, assemblage, research and documentation; she reexamines personal history using things that belonged to her late mother as source material. This way, she reconnects with her mother through ancestral veneration and returns to childhood feelings of security, innocence and possibility. She creates depictions of how individually and as a collective we are changed in relation to our experience of loss- family, identity, names, relationships, land and culture.
Maplewood, New Jersey, USA