Appropriating found objects and refashioning them to new aesthetics, Dozie Kanu creates sculptures and photography that are inherently disobedient and stubbornly slippery. They resist classification and exist instead as communicative or performative objects. Kanu’s ongoing investigation into the limits of form, functionality, materiality and usefulness are often filtered through a personal lens drawn from the artist’s lived experiences.
In the artist’s debut solo exhibition at Project Native Informant, Owe Deed, One Deep, 2020, every sculpture remixes and modifies found objects, with the visible rust as a reminder of how readily items are discarded once they are deemed no longer productive. The repurposing of objects deemed useless, the artist honours and reanimates the people whose labour gave them function. In extending the lives of these unwanted items, he perpetuates the existence of those who brought them into being. His memorialisation is a site of collective mourning of which has not yet ceased to exist, acknowledging that the pathways and legacies of the oppressive systems of the past continue to characterize the present.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas to Nigerian immigrant parents, Kanu initially intended to study film directing but shifted his focus to production design for film and theatre, receiving his BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, in 2016. Dozie Kanu’s first solo institutional exhibition was at the Studio Museum of Harlem in 2019.
Last year, Kanu opened his second solo exhibition at Project Native Informant, Tinted Spirit. In May 2022, the public sculpture commission On Elbows was shown as part of the Public Art Fund exhibition Black Atlantics. In September 2022, Cordyceps Gaud Adversary opened at Neuer Essener Kunstverein, Essen, Dozie Kanu's first solo European institutional exhibition.