Exhibitions/ Art Object

The Nightingale

Grace Ndiritu (British, born 1976)
Single-channel digital video, transferred from Mini DV tape, color, sound, 7 min. 10 sec.
Variable Media
Credit Line:
Gift of the artist, 2009
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2003 Grace Ndiritu, Courtesy Grace Ndiritu and LUX, London
Not on view
Before a camera fixed on her face and neck and accompanied by a recording of the Senegalese singer Baaba Maal, Ndiritu performs a hypnotic, Scheherazade-like series of gestures and movements with a piece of fabric, swiftly transforming it from turban to blindfold, from do-rag to noose to niqab. Both jubilant and unsettling, the video evokes a rapid-fire series of cultural references, counterposing the enforced modesty of the Islamic world with Western fantasies of exoticism. Ndiritu, who studied textiles at the Winchester School of Art, acquired this simple red-and-white scarf while traveling in India and carried it with her as a talisman through years of global exploration.
Another edition of this video was displayed in the MMA exhibition "The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End" September 30, 2008–April 5, 2009. This edition was acquired after the exhibition.
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