For his portrait at Urban Nation the Brooklyn native NohJColey chose Katharina Oguntoye, the Afro-German feminist writer, historian, activist, and poet raised in Nigeria and Heidelberg, Germany. Her study of German culture and her status within it led to her co-editing of the 1986 book Showing Our Colors: Afro-German Women Speak Out (Farbe Bekennen) and to the founding of Joliba, a nonprofit intercultural association in 1997. The organization provides support to a varied intercultural community and hosts educational and cultural events like dinners, seminars, kids events, reading groups, and public art events.
“I have chosen to create a piece that focuses on Katharina Oguntoye because of her contribution to the woman’s equality movement in Germany, “ says NohJ. “She has overcome countless obstacles in her lifetime and has changed so many lives for the better because of her relentless efforts.”
Street Artist NohJColey tells stories with his figures in the public sphere, examining their interrelationships and their place within an urban environment that is often hostile, fraught with anxiety and hypocrisy, yet tempered with humanity. Using various art making disciplines he constructs the stage; hand-carved linotypes, paper cuts, mobile sculpture, painting. A shrewd observer and communicator, his sometimes surreal narratives can be complex, often involving critique of classism, consumerism, racism, addiction, and a broken justice system – each from the perspective of characters who are affected by or perpetuating them.
NohJColey in Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
NohJColey in Albany, New York (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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