Artists

Big Hope, 2010

Olakunle Tejuoso / Weyinmi Atigbi

Olakunle Tejuoso and Weyinmi Atigbi are cultural producers from Lagos. Big Hope, the work they have created for Afropolis, represents a continuation and expan-sion of their research for their 2005 book Lagos. A City at Work. While at that time their work focused on Lagos’ visual culture, the emphasis is now on the hope of change which is fed, on the one hand, by politicians’ promises and, on the other, by the inhabitants’ aspirations. Tejuoso and Atigbi have used digital image processing to rework photos of exclusive (residential) areas in Lagos in an advertising style.

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Under Bridge Life, 2008

Uche Okpa-Iroha

Lagos has a long history of photography connected with such names as J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, Tam Fiofori and Jide Adeniyi-Jones. Uche Okpa-Iroha belongs to the younger generation of photographers often joining forces to work in collectives, and is a founding member of the Black Box photography collective. In common with many other photographers, his work primarily explores city views, focusing especially on spaces created by local people where informal structures play a crucial role. In this context, the photos from the Under Bridge Life series show just how the infrastructure created particularly in the 1960s and 70s, such as the bridges and flyovers, is crucial in today’s life as a “space” for new kinds of informal use. Under Bridge Life by Uche Okpa-Iroha was awarded the Seydou Keita prize at the 8th African Biennial of Photography in Bamako (2008).

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Lagos by Bus, 2010

Emeka Ogboh

Emeka Ogboh belongs to the small but steadily growing media art scene, and is the cofounder of the Video Art Network Lagos. His current projects focus on using auditory media to explore the city’s soundscapes and have culminated in Lagos Soundscape, an on-going multimedia project. For Afropolis, he has recorded and remixed sounds, noises, and the hubbub of voices from the danfo buses. These cadmium yellow VW-minibuses with their characteristic black horizontal stripes are the urban means of transport in Lagos. They foster quite a unique style of communication, creating their own soundscape: melodious horns hooting in an acoustic landscape created by the drivers shouting out the stops; ear-blasting radios blaring out the latest Yoruba songs, local and imported hip-hop or afrobeats; vendors not only touting wares but also rumours; mini-entrepreneurship on the move; preachers ablaze with religious fervour, jibes about “ethnic characteristics”, mobile calls at full volume; dialogues, monologues and other forms of self-assertion.

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Casualties, 2008

Kainebi Osahenye

Kainebi Osahenye studied painting at the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos. For a number of years, his works have been characterised by an experimental approach. Osahenye usually creates large-scale installations of found objects – empty plastic bottles, beer cans, and squashed tubes of colour. The visual impression of the city, gathered during his explorations of Lagos, lends a specifically urban aesthetic to his work. In Casualties, he has arranged hundreds of squashed cans to create a cascade-like installation. His approach of recuperation, based on reusing and converting items found in the artist’s environments, reflects the informality and scarcity of materials in a city such as Lagos.

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Staats Theater – Lagos, 2009–2010

Daniel Kötter / Constanze Fischbeck

Daniel Kötter, video artist and director, and Constanze Fischbeck, set designer and video artist, both live in Berlin. Their works are at the interface between theatre and the fine arts. For Afropolis, they have extracted the Lagos section of their staats-theater project, developing it independently from the other stations of Teheran and Berlin. staats-theater [1] – Lagos focuses on the Lagos National Arts Theatre, which was built for the FESTAC 77 (the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts). The building not only testifies to the desire to showcase a national culture, but also to a cultural policy of large-scale empty gestures that have no sustainability. Kötter and Fischbeck contrast the gigantic auditorium, now empty and dusty, with the city’s eclectic street-life performances. The empty theatre may also become a projection surface for alternative uses – visualised by architects Manuel Shvartzberg and Ayodele Arigbabu in tourist advertising brochures.

FischbeckKoetter2010
 

Lagos. All Roads, 2010

Akinbode Akinbiyi

Photographer and curator Akinbode Akinbiyi lives in Berlin. His photo-graphy has been exploring Lagos for nearly 20 years. In Lagos. All Roads, he continues this process of discovery for Afropolis. Akinbiyi’s approach to photographing cities has always remained the same – he walks around megacities such as Lagos, Cairo or Brasilia with a medium-format camera. Akinbode Akinbiyi has also been a mentor to some members of recent photography collectives such as DOF and Black Box. He shares with them a special interest in the informal arrangements and structures that seem to constitute cities such as Lagos.

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