In The Red


The Context

In The Red is performance project that began in 2008 by Jelili Atiku, Nigerian performance artist. The project portrays the consequential effects of the realities - a psychological speculation of actions and reactions of war and violence. With symbolic contents, it makes a metaphorical statement of the human impulses behind these ugly natures.


In The Red adopts and uses shroud (burial sheet), red (colour) and historical contents of war as materials that symbolize death, life, suffering, danger and violence. The project beliefs that by making a metaphorical statement and symbolize the calamitous events in our world; and by question, picture, express outrage in face of sufferings; it would be clearer that humanity in our modern hither and thither in destruction and extinction. Therefore, using and wrap-human body with linen red cloth and white in these performances is mnemonic of victims of violence, dispute, crisis and war in our world.


Jelili uses video and photography as documentation of his statements, views and ideas in the project. He has so far created Sixteen performances in the body of work of this project. These include:


  1. Obaranikosi (Series #16) - Enacted at Makoko/ Third Mainland Bridge/ Broad Street, Lagos, Nigeria on December 12, 2013, Nyhavn / Charlottenborg Copenhagen, Denmark on Saturday January, 25 2014; and  Hannover, Germany on Saturday September 27 2014.  .
  2. How Not to Dance Tchaikovsky Symphony (Series #15) – Enacted at Tiwani Contemporary, London, United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 in companionship with Grace Morgan Pardo (Canadian/UK artist).
  3. +++=+ (Series #14) – Commissioned and enacted at Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom on Saturday, July 21, 2012.
  4. Eleniyan (Series #13) – Enacted at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda on Thursday, February 16, 2012.
  5. Red Carpet (Series #12) – Enacted at Cotonou, Republic of Benin on Saturday, November 26, 2011.
  6. RED uctio AD AB surdum (Series #11) – Enacted at Lome, Togo on Friday, November 18, 2011.
  7. Red Flag (Series #10) – Enacted at Harare Gardens, Zimbabwe on Friday, October 28, 2011 in companionship with Fisani Nkomo (Zimbabwean artist).
  8. Corpus Cal-lu-sum (Series #09) - Enacted at Ejigbo, Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday, January 23, 2010 in  companionship with Petra Szilagyi (American video and performance artist).
  9. Red Entangle (Series #08) – Enacted at the Big Sight, Ariake, Tokyo, Japan on Sunday March 8, 2009.
  10. Reddendum (Series #07) – Enacted at Fine Arts Department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria on Thursday February 26, 2009.
  11. Red Light (Series #06) – Enacted at Fine Arts Department/ Community Market, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria on Thursday February 26, 2009 and at  Ejigbo, Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday July 6 2013.
  12. Redound (Series #05) -  Enacted at Fine Arts Department, on Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria on Thursday, February 26, 2009.
  13. Red Bug, (Series #04) - Enacted at the Sculpture Garden,  Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria on Thursday, February 26, 2009.
  14. Me and Red (Series #03)Enacted Centre for Contemporary Art, Sabo, Lagos, Nigeria on Wednesday, ‎January ‎21, ‎2009.
  15. Red Mummy in Sabo (Series #02) - Enacted at Sabo Bus Stop, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria on Friday November 27, 2009.   
  16. Red or White (Series #01)Enacted at United Nations Information Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria on Wednesday, September 23, 2008 and  at Fine Arts Department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria on Thursday February 26, 2009. 


In The Red Project focus on the projection of a thought that we need as human beings to re-evaluate and expand our understanding of our experiences, especially those that came upon us as a result of our violence tendencies. By doing so, our  lives can renew themselves, at this point of time, when we are facing the incarnated forms of our creations – appearing in cloths of financial meltdown, food crisis, climate change, etc.