Saturday, 3 February 2007

Lagos Calling

Tunde Aboderin performing the'living dead singalong' at the Goethe Institute, Lagos

Finally I touch base in Lagos for the first time in 2007. With only 5 days before heading out again I catch up with ‘real’ life things such as family and friends. I also attend the opening at the Goethe Institute of an usual project – by the standards of the Lagos art scene. The project ‘performing anthropology’ was the result of a collaborative workshop project between the Berlin based performance group 2ebureau and 9 Nigerian artists they invited for a 5 day workshop. The idea of the project was to bring together actors, writers, singers, visual artists and filmmakers to create an interdisciplinary production on common theme called ‘zombification’ which 2ebureau state ‘describes the role of perception within intercultural encounters’.

Whatever the pretext, it was a brilliant opportunity for young artists to explore different dimensions to their work, try out something new and collaborative – another rare initiative in a country where the different disciplines are strictly separated and hierarchical. Amaraichi Okafor (above) a visual artist who works mainly with installation presented a performance piece with video component Zombification:Make Op that explores some of the mind numbing things young girls do to get money. Abraham Oghobase, (below) a prominent member of the new photographic collective Black Box showed on his digital cameria a force that controls you… from his sleep series. He is an emerging artist to watch.

At Tunde Aboderin’s table we are invited to participate as back up singers for his improvised song the living dead singalong. It was a really interactive opening and one could tell that the artists were enjoying themselves and as much as the audience. Gone are the stuffy private views with noses in the air and everyone counting how many red dots have been placed next to each painting. The result was a breath of fresh air in the staid moneydriven gallery scene in Lagos.


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