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by Sarah Nsikak

September 2023, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, NYC

In ‘Hannah Sampson Etim’ Sarah Nsikak uses her signature style of patchwork and appliqué to pay homage to her grandmother, who was a seamstress in Nigeria and taught her sewing as a kid. Her ancestor’s job was central in the village, as she was making costumes for all major ceremonies within the community, from births and weddings to funeral wakes. By focusing her point of view on the food that was eaten during each of those rituals and important events, she tells a story of life and death in a small Nigerian village.

Nsikak’s hand stitched and quilted tapestries are inspired by Asafo flags from Ghana that are a sign of combativeness as well as by the patchwork Herero dresses from Namibia, that represent resilience. But the artist who grew up in Oklahoma also dives into the patchwork culture from the American ‘Bible Belt’.

The Nigerian American artist draws from many influences including the vibrant stories of the African diaspora, post-colonial art and photography, reclaimed beauty, identity, color, joy, and inviting oneself back to what’s been central all along.

Sarah, who has a background in art therapy, started her career in the fashion world and the exorbitant amount of waste generated in this industry inspired a re-routing of fabrics back to her art practice. Her artworks (and her dresses!) are made exclusively using recycled material sourced from fashion designers based in New York. One of her creation was shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute in New York. (A Lexicon of Fashion, Curated by Andrew Bolton, September 2021 - September 2022)

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