Ozoz Sokoh

Curating as Unearthing

Coast to Coast: From West Africa to the World

Nigeria-born food explorer Ozoz Sokoh is developing a series of short research films, narrated by a spoken-word artist, which explore the legacy of West-African culinary, botanical, and agricultural knowledge and its global impact on development.

Ozoz Sokoh

In her intersectional culinary practice, Sokoh writes, cooks, and researches Nigerian and West African cuisine, tracing the geography and legacy of its traditions, techniques, and ingredients through the transatlantic slave trade across Latin America, the Caribbean, American South, and Europe.

Her project Coast to Coast: From West Africa to the World maps these journeys and trajectories, examining and documenting West-African contributions to the thriving economies of the world. The narratives uncovered in her research are rarely visible, often erased, hardly celebrated, and commonly appropriated. Her goal is to unearth the legacy of West African knowledge systems while decolonizing historical records and shaping contemporary food media to reimagine the future, from Coast to Coast.

Working with curator Koyo Kouoh as her mentor, Sokoh is currently exploring work-stay possibilities for a joint digital workshop to further develop food-focused filmmaking and storytelling skills.

At the Forecast Festival in April, she will present two short films created in collaboration with Tolu Agbelusi, a Nigerian-British poet, playwright, performer, educator, and lawyer. The films delve into the varied politics of food expressed in past and present colonial constructs—ranging from monoculture to the abuse of power through language—by focusing on four West African ingredients: palm oil, okro, rice, and black-eyed beans.

A homemade version of Brazilian Acaraje
A homemade Nigerian Akara

“As a primal artistic expression, the narratives of culinary practices continue to be undervalued and tokenized in the context of contemporary art,” says Kouoh. “I have selected to work with Sokoh as she continues to dig and connect culinary histories of the Black experience in the framework of her long-term, expansive research, for the bold and fresh ways in which it advances the knowledge of and recognition for a culturally defining legacy that has been invisibilized for the longest time. Yet its story is at the root of modern culinary practices, food ways, and politics of taste that pretty much shape Black identity on both sides of the Atlantic.”

More about Sokoh’s work can be found on Feast Afrique, where she documents collaborations and celebrations centered on West African Culinary Excellence, ranging from a digital library to map-based explorationsrecipes, and more.