b. 1976, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Zina Saro-Wiwa was born in Nigeria and grew up in the United Kingdom, graduating from the University of Bristol. She has been involved in journalism and media since her teen years, working for BBC television and radio and writing for the Sunday Times and other publications. Saro-Wiwa now works primarily as a filmmaker and video artist, directing experimental video pieces, shorts, and documentaries, including a short documentary commissioned by the New York Times and the award-winning 2008 documentary This Is My Africa, which premiered on HBO in 2010.
As a video artist, Saro-Wiwa’s interest lies in investigating the idea of emotional landscapes. She often explores highly personal experiences, mapping their emotional facets and exploring the connection between documentary film and performance-based video. Her work seeks to make tangible the space between internal experience and outward performance and brings cross-cultural considerations to bear on these articulations. More recently, Saro-Wiwa has begun to work with food as a medium, engaging the cultural and ritualistic aspects of feasting.
Saro-Wiwa co-curated the multi-artist exhibition Sharon Stone of Abuja, Location One Gallery, New York (2010), which explored the visual and narrative conventions of the Nollywood film industry. She was the founder of the multimedia company AfricaLab, an organization dedicated to re-imagining African identity through film and art projects. Her AfricaLab documentary This Is My Africa launched the Forex series at Stevenson, Cape Town (2009); and has been screened at the Newark Museum, NJ (2010); Brooklyn Museum, NY (2009); and October Gallery, London (2008). Other video works have been exhibited at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2011); and Stevenson (2011); and she has been a guest artist at Third Streaming, New York (2012). Her films have been shown at film festivals worldwide, including the Toronto International Film Festival (2012); Film Africa, London (2011); and the Africa in Motion Festival, Edinburgh (2010).