has unveiled two immersive and highly political artworks about forced migration and sexual brutality in its subterranean Tanks space.
The large installations by the Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh and India’s Amar Kanwar were opened to the public on Monday and both will enter Tate’s collection.
In the East Tank is a multichannel sound installation by Ogboh called The Way Earthly Things Are Going, a title taken from the Bob Marley song So Much Trouble in the World.
It features live-streamed stock exchange data slowly scrolling around 25 metres of the space like a giant LED ticker tape. At the same time visitors hear a haunting ancient Greek lament recorded specifically for the piece.
Ogboh said the biggest problem in Greece was the financial crisis, which was forcing people to migrate in search of a better life.
The work is staged in a dark room. “It’s gloomy, it’s the state of things,” he said.
It was first seen at this year’s Documenta 14 art exhibition in Athens. Gregor Muir, Tate’s director of collection, international art, said it was a powerful work and one of the best things he had seen there.
He said the work asked questions about what it is to be human in today’s world and had a “particular poignancy, power and relevance.”
Ogboh said he was pleased the work was finding a home at Tate Modern. “For an artist, that’s big. You also want your art shown properly and Tate can do that.”
The other work going on display, by Kanwar, is titled The Lightning Testimonies. It dates from 2007 and consists of eight screens with documentary-style film that explores the challenging subject of sexual brutality in times of conflict.
Tate said the work was being purchased with funds provided by its south Asia acquisitions committee.