Oil: Visual Metaphors in Paintings of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
The discovery of crude oil in Oloibiri in the Niger Delta of Nigeria in 1956, served as a doorway to the discovery of several oil wells in Port Harcourt. Unfortunately, oil exploration activities have led to major changes in the historical, political and socio-economic dynamics of the area. Inevitably, these changes have resulted in social transformations which have inspired artists to produce artistic works - visual images that tell the stories of oil communities and people of Port Harcourt. These stories revolve around environmental degradation, conflict and the struggle for socio-political and economic development. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to explore the narrative metaphors which unfold within selected paintings that reveal the impact of oil exploration activities on Port Harcourt and its people, and the significance of these paintings in modern Nigerian art.
Key Words: Oil, Port Harcourt, environmental degradation, conflict, painting