Liz Ikiriko, Curator, Artist – Toronto

Liz Ikiriko is an independent curator, photo editor, and artist. She has curated exhibitions with Wedge Curatorial Projects and the National Music Centre, and worked on publications such as The Ethnic Aisle, AWAY Magazine, Maclean’s, and Toronto Life. She has hosted workshops and juried awards for Ryerson University, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and the Prize for Contemporary African Photography (CAP). She is currently an MFA candidate in Criticism and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University. Her thesis exhibition will be presented with Circuit Gallery at Prefix ICA this April.

1. Naija Proud

Abraham Oghobase, digital negative placed on lithographic print on paper

I am biracial, born and raised in Saskatchewan, and it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve been connected to my Nigerian family. After a lifechanging visit to Lagos in 2016, my Naija pride has only gotten stronger. Seems as though we’re in the midst of a contemporary Nigerian arts renaissance (#Felaforever) with talent spread across the globe. To name just a few…

Photographer Abraham Oghobase: a welcome new resident of Toronto! Keep your eyes peeled this spring to see his work in the city.

Singer Falana: Nigeria-based, Toronto-raised, sweet, soulful, and styling.

Writer Akwaeke Emeze & photographer Yagazi Emeze: these siblings are almost too much greatness to handle. Incredibly sharp photographer and fierce novelist, they dust off old notions of their Igbo/Tamil lineage and remind us that cultures are never static.

2. Scooter’s Roller Palace

(photo: Liz Ikiriko)

If there is such a thing as an inner rhythm, then I’ve discovered that roller skating is my true pace. It doesn’t get better than rolling to sweet beats with my hubby, kids, and friends in tow.

3. The White Gaze

(photo: Danielle Zalcman)

I’m so hungry for more public discourse highlighting the problems of BIPOC representation and the invisible white gaze within photography. Jasmine Weber’s Hyperallergic article was a welcome read and went well with photographer Daniella Zalcman’s National Geographic exploration into the fetishization and appropriation of Indigenous cultures.

4. Roy DeCarava’s The Sweet Flypaper of Life

Roy DeCarava, Joe and Julia singing, 1953, from The Sweet Flypaper of Life (photograph: © The Estate of Roy DeCarava 2018; courtesy: David Zwirner)

There aren’t many, but sometimes an artist resounds so wholly with you, they become a surrogate parent figure. Photographer Roy De Carava is one of them (along with Gil Scott-Heron and bell hooks). Newly re-issued DeCarava and poet Langston Hughes’ book The Sweet Flypaper of Lifecaptures a tangibly rich moment of Black History in Harlem. Though I’ve dreamed of a rare first edition copy, I’ll be happy to hold the re-issue in my hands.

5. Delta Delta

NASA Space Shuttle photo of the Niger Delta

I’ve been thinking on Deltas and how they shape the communities that exist around them. My father was born in the Niger Delta. I’ve been drawn to the Mississippi Delta since I was a teen living in Saskatchewan, and have lately been listening to a lot of delta bluesman like Son House. His song Death Letter Blues might just knock me over one of these days. I have a feeling there’s a project working its way out of this one.