Do not mistake Marcellina Akpojotor’s creations as mere paintings. These powerful images of Africans are created from cleverly manipulated scraps of fabric. Her choice of medium is not just a simple attempt at creating a unique style.
Akpojotor uses scraps of Ankara fabric, commonly known as African print fabric, though it is created by a technique brought over by Dutch colonials from Java. Using this medium, she explores the politics of fabric and identity, especially its significance in women’s roles in contemporary African society.
Akpojotor was born in Lagos, Nigeria, with art in her blood. Her first apprenticeship was with her father when she assisted him with drawing, design, stencil, writing, and calligraphy work. She would eventually follow in his footsteps and enrolled at the Lagos State Polytechnic, studying Art and Industrial Design.
She has since created many works that explore femininity and female empowerment and reflect her identity as a woman in today’s society. Her recent work, Daughter of Esan, depicts her family’s journey over five generations (her great-grandmother, her grandmother, her mother, herself, and her daughter) to fulfill her great-grandmother’s then-radical wish to receive an education.