Recently, I was at a workshop tagged Spaces of Displacement organised by the Goethe Institute, Lagos, Nigeria. The workshop was informed by the challenges faced by refugees and how this has become a topical discuss in global development and humanity. The workshop attracted practitioners from media and visual arts with special concentration on photography.
Questing further on the power of images and illustrations, I stumbled on this presentation by Tracy Chevalier, talking about how paintings have triggered stories and narratives. This presentation will change your perception about images. What more can you see in that painting or picture beyond wall decor? Check this out, you will learn a great deal from this presentation
The British Council, Lagos, on the 20th of August, 2015 witnessed an influx of artists and creative practitioners. It was the launching of the UK/ Nigeria 2015-16 programme designed to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries and promote collaborations between Artists from the UK and Nigeria. It is a major season of arts in Nigeria aimed at building new audiences, creating new collaborations and strengthening relationships between the UK and Nigeria. This grandiose event set the mood for the season.
The Abuja British Council office at Maitama, on the 15th of September also played host to arts entrepreneurs, enthusiasts and creative alongside government and other private sector guests at the official launch of the UK/Nigeria 2015-16. The first project in the programme is tagged “Go Woman Go!, it spans September 2015—April 2016 and will take place in Abuja.
Louisa Waddingham, Director Programmes, British Council Nigeria, in her speech, acknowledged the presence of Laura Aldridge, the British artist, popularly known for her works across art forms such as photography, screen print, ceramics, fabrics and cement, to Nigeria for the Go Woman Go! project. “Her work over the years has been incredible and we look forward to the exchange of knowledge and perspectives between her and participants in the Nigerian arts industry. It is my hope that each of the projects in this season creates new collaborations and strengthens the relationships between Nigeria and the UK.”
The Abuja Season launch also featured a make-space facilitated by the Nike Arts Centre Abuja even as DJ Lambo, popular female DJ, treated the guests to some delightful music.
Programmed in association with a host of partners, it features more than 30 projects and more than 80 events in art, fashion, design, theatre, dance, music, literature and film throughout Nigeria and includes showcases of Nigerian arts and creative industries in the UK.
UK/Nigeria 2015–16 has a focus on creating access to art, new digital work, innovation, art in public spaces and working with young people.
Partnerships between Nigerian and British artists, institutions and organisations will be at the heart of the season which aims to develop skills and capacity across the creative industries.
The programme will run until April 2016 creating new connections in arts, education, innovation, trade and investment.
The festival as usual attracted art lovers and culture enthusiast to the Freedom Park which is fast becoming the central hub for art, music and relaxation for Lagosians. The final celebration was the Lagos Carnival-a vibrant and colourful festival which showcases the creativity of Lagosians.
Beyond the celebration, a lot of young and creative people made a great impression through face decoration, photography and also made some cool cash from the guests whose faces were adorned with different creative designs to get them ready for the festival.
Biodun Omolayo Art Gallery in its commitment to the promotion of Visual Arts, exhibited the works of Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey in a two weeks exhibition titled African Essence. It is not uncommon to hear the cliché; the artist is a mirror of the society but the truth is that, that’s exactly what it is. The Artist cannot but be influenced by the environment which plays host to him or her and give reign to creative imaginations. According to Jonathan, it has never being a challenge sourcing for subjects to work on. In his Artist statement, he explained how he gets his subjects. “Finding subjects is not difficult for me; most times the subjects seem to find me. Observing, walking, sketching, taking photographs all these offer creative opportunities. Wherever I am, I inspire myself to capture and transform that environment into my artistic vision. This allows me to entertain my viewers in various ways”
The works of Jonathan; all water colour, buttressed the whole point about the artist being a mirror of the society. In an interview with him during the exhibition, he explained the huge influence that came to play from his community while preparing for the exhibitions. He said he lives in a community where fishing is the major trade. This further explained the reason why the domineering theme in his exhibited works reflected water and the lifestyles of the people living around the community. Could this also be the reason why he chose watercolour as a medium of expression against acrylics which sets his foundation in painting? Just teasing, I must however say, I find a kind of correlation and rhyme between the use of Watercolour to express themes associated with water. Anyway, that’s something to think about in your own time. I must however commend Jonathan for choosing this medium. The dexterity and mastery expressed by this artist in the manipulation of a difficult medium like the watercolour which also shares similarities with the acrylic cannot be contested in anyway. His brush strokes and choice of colours gave life to his expression and brought to life, the mood and true feel of a rural community surrounded by water. This is the Artist’s first time of being in Nigeria to exhibit his works.
We must commend Biodun Omolayo, the brain behind the Biodun Omolayo Gallery for taking this giant stride in exhibiting the works of Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey; a young but vibrant Ghanaian watercolour artist. This according to Biodun is in line with the vision of the gallery to provide a platform for young talented artists in Nigeria and Africa to showcase their works and be known. This is the first time the gallery is going beyond the shores of Nigeria to bring in a foreign Artist to exhibit at the gallery.
The African Artists’ Foundation recently concluded its Arts Salon tagged We Are Love which was opened on Saturday the 8th of February marking the first Arts Salon for the year 2014 by AAF. The exhibition brought together 9 Nigerian Artists: Tyna Adebowale Tolu Aliki, Ike Gerald Chiemieze, George Edozie, Obinna Makata, Yomi Momoh, Obi Nwokedi, Chike Obeagu, Uche Uzorka with different styles and techniques but unified by a common team and medium of expression-visual art. The artists reflected the society in their different style as they give their different artistic interpretations to the team of the Salon- “We Are Love”.
I had the opportunity of meeting and chatting with Tyna Adebowale; the only female Artist whose works featured in the exhibition. Her works just like most artists were informed by the happenings in our society; they are social commentaries expressed in Pidgin English. She used such illustrations as Chop Clean Mouth, Who Be Your Papa? Govt in Our Bedrooms. The exhibition attracted artists, art lovers and collector.
The year 2014 started on a vibrant note for the Artists and art lovers. It was ushered in by a multimedia exhibition at the Goethe Institute. The Goethe Institute is known for its total commitment to the promotion of Arts and Culture and cross-cultural integration.
The exhibition titled “Post-Oil City’ is as much about the future as it is about the past. As indicated by the exhibition’s subtitle – ‘The History of the City’s Future’ – every vision of the future is based on a vision of the past”. The exhibition focused on environment and how the changes experienced from time to time triggered innovations and new architectural designs. The exhibition was a fusion of photography, documentary and animation. This technique created authenticity and uniqueness for the exhibition and also took the audience on a great journey to the different countries that were explored in the context of this project. Audience had opportunity to reflect on the past and also project into the future. http://cms.ifa.de/en/exhibitions/exhibitions-abroad/architecture/post-oil-city/
My culture exploration here in Hyderabad, India took me to CHARMINAR; one of the major monuments and tourist attractions in Hyderabad. The Charminar Mosque is among one of the most recognised structures in India which attracts tourist globally. It was built in 1591.
Paying a visit to this mosque, i was distracted by something else; I took a special interest in watching other visitors as they capture every bit of their experiences with their mobile phones. The truth is that, you cannot but be overwhelmed with what you see; the details in the architectural design and the aesthetics. If you are not a photographer or there with a camera, your mobile phone automatically becomes handy as you may want to capture, document and share this experience on Facebook with friends, families and let them know Waz-Up.
From Chaminar, I bring you this report on what I call PHONETOGRAPHY
The word phone-tography was coined out of PHONE AND PHOTOGRAPHY. I am sure you know what this is all about; the act of taking photographs with mobile phones. You do that too, right? It’s one of the fastest way of documenting events at a short notice or when you are unprepared. Facebook has made this tradition more popular with most people trying to document and post pictures of everything that happens in their daily lives for friends to see and make comments. Going to a new restaurant, meeting a new boyfriend, travelling, dancing, singing, drinking, wedding….the list of images that can be shared on Facebook is endless, depending on the mood of the individual. I remember recently seeing a picture of a friend crying on Facebook and under it was few words in memory of her late dad. She took this shot herself with her mobile phone and immediately posted it on Facebook for friends and families to be a part of this emotional pain. This is how far people can go with the mobile phone.
What a great innovation Technology has brought to our lives. I am sure you do that too and at several occasions, you must have said to yourself, “what is the need for a photographer when you are able to take good shots with your mobile machine which also serve other purposes: phone calls, chat, email, whatsapp, bb, data base for all your contacts?”
Are you a PHONETOGRAPHER ? What do you document with your mobile phones or camera? How skilled are you in PHONE-TOGRAPHY? Do you think you still need the services of a photographer? Share your views on PHONE-TOGRAPHY and why you think we still need the services of a PHOTOGRAPHER. I will appreciate contributions from PHOTOGRAPHERS too.
I was at the World Music Day Celebration here in Hyderabad, India on the 21st of June 2013 and it was quite interesting.
The 21st of June of every year which happens to be the first day of summer and the longest day of the year with the sun setting after 10pm in France is a very special day for musicians and music lovers worldwide; it is the Fete de la Musique or World Music Day. The first Fete de la Musique celebration was in Paris in 1982. The event after its launch in Paris in 1982 has become popular in other countries like India and Nigeria through the support of the Alliance France. I have attended about three different episodes of this event in Nigeria and it was graced by great Nigerian Musicians like Femi Anikulapo-Kuti (the son of the Late Afro-Music Legendary FELA), Lagbaja (the masked Musician) Dede Mabiaku, Yinka Davies and some upcoming musicians.
Here in Hyderabad, India, the event coincides with the monsoon; a period characterized by torrential rain. It attracted 40 local talents comprising of amateurs and professional musicians and created a common platform for them to perform on the same stage and entertain the audience. As for the audience, the event was a great opportunity to escape from the busy roads of Hyderabad to a more serene environment to relax their brains and watch live performance of different genre of music at no cost: Carnatic, Rock, Gospel and Hindi songs. This wonderful event was put together by the Alliance France, Goethe Institut, Taj and Hyderabad Music Foundation.