Date of release: Wednesday, January 11, 2017

British-Nigerian artist Karl Ohiri returns home this month both to the University of Greenwich and the borough where he grew up with the exhibition My Granddad's Car.

The car in question was the abandoned shell of a Beetle Karl discovered as a boy when his mother first took him to stay in the family home in Nigeria. He and fellow photographer Sayed Hasan decided to bring back their grandfathers' respective cars to the UK. The ensuing struggles and bureaucratic delays became the subject of an art project about migration and identity.

My Granddad's Car, a free exhibition, runs at the university's Stephen Lawrence Gallery, in Stockwell Street, Greenwich, from 12 January to 10 February. It is an expanded version of the show that has been well received at the New Art Exchange Nottingham.

Karl says: "I am delighted to be able to show my work at the university. My degree shaped the way I think about things. We had some of the best lecturers and I still have a strong communication with them, and the opportunity to inspire the next generation of students."

Karl says he was also shaped by growing up in Eltham. "I made loads of amazing friends and learned a lot from living there. The murder of Stephen Lawrence also affected me deeply. As a ten year old, it was scary to think that the racism we experienced could potentially lead to death. To exhibit in the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, which both reminds us of that but also embodies hope and human potential, feels right."

Karl's work is also currently on show at the National Portrait Gallery. His portrait, Boy Scout, is showcased in the Taylor Wessing Prize exhibition, the world's leading portrait photography competition.

Today his practice encompasses video, text and sculpture. "Art is a progressive form. I primarily use photography because it is a beautiful medium but my practice is always evolving – sometimes you need different tools to express what you want to put out there."

Karl studied BA (Hons) Media & Communications, one of a wide range of courses in the university's Department of Creative Professions & Digital Arts, part of the Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities.

Read Karl's interview on the University of Greenwich Alumni website:

Story by Public Relations.

Picture: Patchwork, 2012 (Karl Ohiri).