Peter Spanjer

Make Me Safe, 2020


7 Minutes 1 second

Edition of 3 + 1 AP


Watch an extract of ‘Make Me Safe’.

In ‘Make Me Safe’, Nigerian artist Peter Spanjer addresses identity, vulnerability and resistance in his contemporary video piece. Initially, the film begins with a thorn covered, thistle-like flower with an accompanying looped audio. As the video goes on, in particular Spanjer’s carefully chosen audio dictates the video’s pace and ultimately the interlocking footage. Accordingly, Spanjer layers the footage, whilst also over-laying audio as the piece moves on. ‘Make Me Safe’ is distinctive in it’s mood, additionally Spanjer carefully depicts an emotionally charged portrayal of personal identity. In this case, he made this video work specifically in response to the recent resurgence of the Black Lives Movement, in the Summer of 2020.

However, this video piece stands alone in amongst his body of work, ‘Make Me Safe’ addresses a powerful dialogue of self expression. By layering text, audio and image, Spanjer creates a collage-like way of video making. Many of his chosen clips in this particular contemporary video unsteadily move around and merge into one another. The constant movement in the piece is intermittent and marks a change in pace, or more often a change in visual imagery. He juxtaposes imagery of natural ephemera with sound, portraying a sense of fragile beauty and sensuality. This visual narrative sits in contrast to masculine ideals and underpins his second video piece ‘Every Piece of You’.

As an artist, Spanjer’s work most often contains layers of sensuality and sexuality, as well as softness and vulnerability. Most of all, his aim is to confront his own sensitivities on self evaluation and planted narratives. Simultaneously, he breaks down systems and ‘ideas of blackness’ within the current contemporary art world.

“‘Make Me Safe’ is a reaction.

It is a reaction to the current racial pandemic targeting black people.

…. a reaction to knowing that safety is seldom.

It is a reaction to the realisation that whilst we swim to safety, we have to keep faith, whatever that means to you.”