Saturday, 23 February 2008

Africa Beyond Visual Arts Residencies

The Africa Beyond Visual Arts Residencies have been developed through a partnership between Africa Beyond and Gasworks International Residency Programme, and in association with the Southbank Centre, The Photographers’ Gallery and Iniva. The Residencies are funded by Arts Council England, London.

Africa Beyond aims to keep African culture in a central position within the modern UK landscape, through its website and other media, lively public events, and by developing projects across different art forms.

Gasworks International Residency Programme will play host to three
visiting artists from Africa who will each be supported in developing a project with a major London visual arts organisation: Iniva, The Photographers’ Gallery and the Southbank Centre (14th April – 29th June 2008). The non-prescriptive and process-based nature of the residencies will allow the visiting artists to research and experiment with new work in an international context.

In addition, as part of Gasworks’ International Fellowships Programme, three artists from the UK will travel to Africa to undertake residencies with artist-run organisations in South Africa and Kenya.

The Artists:

Andrew Esiebo
Through documentary photography, Andrew Esiebo creates portraits of urban life in Nigeria and reveals many facets of his country's culture and heritage. In an ongoing project entitled Holy Ghost Nights, Esiebo explores how the new wave of Nigerian churches inspire both trance-like worship and large scale monetary pledges, while his Soccer World series focuses on the passion and drama associated with the game in a country where many dream of becoming football stars.

Esiebo lives and works in Ibadan, Nigeria. His images have featured in international publications including Photoblogs Magazine (USA), Voiceworks (Australia), and the United Nations Global Report on Human Settlements, and in shows including Meeting in the Middle East (Syria, 2006) and the Noorderlicht Photography Festival 2007. Esiebo is a member of the Black Box photographers’ collective, Nigeria and was recently artist-in-residence with Visa Pour La Creation, a programme run by the artistic association of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Andrew Esiebo will undertake his residency in association with The
Photographers’ Gallery.

Mahmoud Khaled
Adopting a process-oriented and multidisciplinary approach, Mahmoud Khaled works with video, photography, text and site-specific installation, to create projects which examine the powerful, and often coded, socio-political trajectories that run through our daily lives. Many of his projects have at their core a thorough exploration of the document, in its many variations of official, social, historical or personal. Khaled’s most recent work considers the politics of identity formation in virtual environments and networking systems.

Khaled lives and works in Alexandria, Egypt. He has participated in a number of international exhibitions and projects including All Clear (Salzburg, 2007), Out of Place (Beirut, 2007), and the 1st Biennial of the Canaries (2006). Khaled has been awarded residencies including the Sally and Lucas Artists Residency Program at the Montalvo Arts Center, California (2006) and Artist in Residence at the F+F School for Media Art and Design, Zurich, Switzerland (2006).

Mahmoud Khaled will undertake his residency in association with Iniva.

Goddy Leye
Encompassing video, installation and performance, Goddy Leye’s practice revolves around notions of memory, both individual and collective, and explorations beneath the surface of dominant and supposedly authoritative histories and representations. Informed by a critical understanding of Negritude philosophy, Leye seeks to unravel historical and contemporary representations of Africa, and his internationalist outlook has led to projects aimed at cross-cultural exchange. An ongoing project entitled United Chiefdom of Africa centres around a fictitious state created by the artist in 2001, whose flag he carries all over the world.

Leye lives and works in Douala, Cameroon. He spent two years at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam (2001-2002), and has participated in several major international exhibitions including Dak’Art 2000, South Meets West (Accra, 1999 and Berne, 2000), the Sao Paulo Biennial (2002) and Africa Remix (London, 2005).

Goddy Leye will undertake his residency in association with the Southbank Centre.

(Culled from Press Release)

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Geerte Wachter of The Prince Claus Fund, Netherlands at CCALagos

Geerte Wachter, PCF and Dapo Adeniyi Publisher of Position Magazine
The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos started its public programme session in 2008 with an informal presentation by Geerte Wachter, Snr Programme Co-ordinator at the Prince Claus Fund. Although the fund has been assisting projects in Nigeria since 2000 this is the first time that any of its official had visited the country. It is an appropriate time as they now have several grantees including a recent nominee of the PCF Award, CORA, Committee for Relevant Art lead by Toyin Akinosho and Jahman Anikulapo. Other projects have included Overcoming Maps headed by Krydz Ikuwemesi and Ayo Adewunmi. The sell out publication on Lagos by Kunle Tejuosho of Glendora Review. Other individuals have received travel grants to go on residencies, attend seminars or conferences. PCF seems interested in deepening its output in Nigeria and although the sums may not be a lot within a global context, the go a loooong way in a country in which little or no government funding is available for for the arts.

Ms Dike, artist and Ms Davies publisher of Agufon

Cross section of the audience at the talk.

Toyin Akinosho, CORA, Ita publisher, MuseMag and Victor Ekpuk, artist.
Ms Wachter's talk about the activities of PCF was followed by a discussion period in which questions about budget, criteria for selection and their recommendation procedures were raised. There are very few funding avenues for cultural practitioners and the very few that do seem to exist are shrouded in secrecy discouraging the majority of artists and art organisation not to bother anymore. The openness of PCF was a welcome change from the status quo and people can put a face to the organisation. Ms Wachter on her part was able to meet more artists and cultural workers who may or may not have been on her already very long list. The events highlights the diversity activities that CCA,Lagos are keen to encourage - cultural workers from different sectors - dance, literature, photography etc to meet and hopefully begin to collaborate in the future where the synergy exists.

Chris, photography Promoter, Uche Iroha DoF member. Ojoma Ochai British Council Lagos
To round off the evening was a nice surprise both by Geerte Wachter who present with a beautiful monograph of the Afghan artist Lida Abdul. This was exciting as I am very interested in Abdul's work and she is included in this year Artes Mundi Prize of which I am a co-selector with portuguese curator Isabel Carlos. The exhibition of the 8 shortlisted artists we selected opens mid March at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. More information to follow later. Ms Wachter's presentation was followed by an even more suprising presentation of their publications by CAF - the Contemporary Art Forum headed by Mike Omoighe, Ademola Azeez and Kunle Filani to the CCA,Lagos Library. The reminded me about how I had challenged them to start something after I had organised a project which brought international guest speakers - writers, curators and art historians - to Nigeria in 2000/1 to talk about contemporary art and culture in their respective countries. The guest speakers included Katy Deepwell (UK), Eddie Chambers (UK) William Miko (Zambia) Colin Richards (SA) and Yacouba Konate (Ivory Coast). I am happy to see that important activities have happened as a result of those talks. There is CAF and its annual lecture series and publications and also Ken Koli who was so inspired by Deepwell's talk on International Feminist Art Practices from 1960s to the present that he decided to write his PhD dissertation on Nigerian Women Artists 1955-1985. He defended his thesis sucessfully in 2007. The guest speaker series was funded by the Prince Claus Fund and since then we have kept ourselves informed of our respective activities. I was happy to make sure - with my colleagues - that the warmth of African hospitality enveloped Ms Wachter during her visit to Nigeria.

Mike Omoighe (CAF) Bisi Silva (CCALagos) and Ademola Azeez (CAF)

Sunday, 3 February 2008

My Kind of Opening, Ndidi Dike at CCA,Lagos

The opening of Ndidi Dike's exhibition Waka-into-Bondage:The Last 3/4 Mile was another special event for CCA,Lagos and really embodies the spirit of our goals and vision. To provide the platform for artists to move out of their comfort zones, explore the experimental aspect of their work and present the result to the widest audience possible. Whilst we encourage work that is socially engaged, aesthetic considerations are not subsumed.

Ndidi Dike in front of Economic Fabric, 2008

Ndidi Dike talking about the exhibition
The whole project was an important collaborative and learning experience for everyone involved and it generated a lot of discussion around slavery. On my part the shocking discovery was that not many Nigerians know about slavery and very few young people are taught about the history of slavery because it seems that history is not included in the secondary education curriculum and where it does feature, slavery hardly features. This only highlights the extent to which the military, the politicians and but even more seriously the educationalists have destroyed the fabric of the knowledge base of our society. UNFORGIVEABLE.

Dr Wura Ogunyemi, Author of What's in a Name.
But all hope is not lost. Another highlight of the exhibition was the unexpected presence of Dr Wura Ogunyemi. About two days before the opening, my mother received a book gift from her friend titled, What's in a Name. My mum thought what a coincidence that I was organising an exhibition on the same subject and she thought it would be a good idea to have some copies at the opening. We managed to contact Dr Ogunyemi who promised to send some copies but as she was a bit frail would not be able to attend the opening.

So you can imagine my surprise and joy when i saw her appear with her daughter climbing slowly up the stairs to our 2nd floor gallery. (Yeah they still haven't installed the lift. Thats Nigeria for you) I immediately took her round the exhibition and she was so so happy and as I talked she filled in the gaps. It was really nice. Then I took her to our library and she was so excited. She only brought 15 copies but they sold out within the hour and I have received orders for 40 copies from Terra Kulture and over 20 more copies for disappointed guests who couldn't buy on the day.

What's in a Name;A Story of Slavery

What's in a Name is a unique perspective on the slave trade, recounting not only the sufferings of the captured millions, but also how West Africa was reshaped politically and socially by those who managed to return.

The book is a good starting reference point for anybody embarking on a study of the slave trade but also for those seeking an appreciation of the human cost to all those involved from the traders to their hapless victims. The book is only 36 pages and should be read by every school age and even adult Nigerian.

CCA,Lagos is currently liasing with art teachers in the secondary schools in the area such as Reagan Memorial, Methodist Girls High School, Queens' College, Our Lady of Apostle (these are some of the earlies schools set up in Lagos by Missionaries and are within 10min of CCA,Lagos). We hope to welcome the students to the exhibitions.
Published in 2007 by Heritage House Press, UK
Tel:00 44 (0)113 286 0819
ISBN: 978-1-905912-07-0

Art Patrons Eng.Shyllon and Chief Gbadamosi talking to
Director of Cultural Centre, Terra Kulture, Bolanle Austen-Pete

Ndidi Dike with CCA,Lagos curator Bisi Silva.

Artists discussion the work, 1 Way, 2008
The turnout to the exhibition was good with people coming in manageable flows which did not overcrowd the space. Also there were 2 other important exhibitions going on at the same time in Lagos which I hope to get to during the week.

Artists Peju Alatise and Uche Edochie catching up.

DoF Member Uche Iroha greeting Aanena Jemitola.

Gallery Manager Rotimi Agbebi with artist Peju Alatise,
Position Magazine Publisher Dapo Adeniyi and artist Victor Ekpuk,

Photographer Sunmi Smart-Cole chatting with artist Chinwe Uwatse.

DoF member Amaize Ojeikere. CCALagos trustee Valerie Nwogbe talking art collector Femi Akinsanya.

Musemag Publisher Ita and cultural consultant Shade Bembatoum-Young. Folake Ojeikere and Ndidi Dike.

Guests at the opening

Folake Ojeikere of Pictureworks and Bisi Silva
As we were getting ready to close I received a call that students from one of Nigeria's premier art institiutions were on their way to the exhibition. Within 30mins approximately 35 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year Fine Arts student arrived at the gallery. On seeing elder artist, Mr Kolade Oshinowo they started chanting the departments anthem as a form of respect and acknowledgement of an elder in the room.

The were taken round the exhibition by gallery manager Rotimi, there was a short impromptu question and answer session followed by picture taking. It was truly a befitting finale, interacting with the future generation of contemporary Nigerian artists - to a really fulfilling evening.

ABU, Zaria Fine Art Students with CCALagos Staff, Mr Kolade Oshinowo
and Moses of Quintessence Gallery.

Rotimi Agbebi taking the students round the exhibition

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Ndidi Dike opens at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos


3 solo exhibitions and a publication

Ndidi Dike, Waka-into-Bondage:The Last 3/4 Mile
2nd February – 8th March 2008

Waka-into-Bondage:The last ¾ mile
by Nigerian Artist Ndidi Dike presents the second part of Democrazy, the inaugural curatorial project of the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos. Fela, Ghariokwu Lemi and The Art of the Album Cover, the first exhibition paid tribute to the internationally acclaimed Afro-Beat musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and acknowledges his uncompromising fight for democracy for Nigerians and Africans, the second, Waka-into-Bondage takes the history and the legacy of slavery as its point of departure. Dike’s recent project takes the form of a sculptural installation signalling a turning point in her artistic practice. Well known for her wood sculpted totem poles – traditionally the preserve of male sculptors within Nigerian society - and her wall hanging wood reliefs, in 2004 after over a decade of transgressive sculptural practice Dike successfully added painting to her artistic repertoire.

Ndidi Dike talking to members of the Press about A Drop in the Ocean, 2008
In Waka-into-Bondage, the evolution of Dike’s work takes on a more conceptual framework liberated from spatial constraints both physical and mental to actualise ideas researched over a considerable period such as the effect of slavery on the local population, in this case the coastal town of Badagry. Using ‘loaded’ symbols, she presents two large carved wooden boats, one covered and filled with sugar, the other filled with blood red liquid. In coalescing the evocative potential of her materials attraction turns to repulsion as Dike attempts to trigger traces and memories of our forebearers as they walked the last ¾ mile from Gbereful Island past the point of no return towards the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Installing 1 Way, 2008with Ndidi Dike and team

Ndidi Dike is a visual artist working in sculpture and mixed media painting. She graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka with a Diploma in Music Education (Voice) followed by a B.A Fine and Applied Arts in 1984 (major Mixed Media Painting).

Dike has participated in several solo and group exhibitions in Nigeria, Africa and internationally, including Women to Women, Weaving Cultures, Shaping History (2000) University Art Gallery, Indiana State University, Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa (1995) Whitechapel Gallery, London, She is a member of the Guild of Fine Arts, Nigeria (GFAN) and Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA). Her work is to be found in public and private collections in Nigeria and Abroad.

Centre for Contemporary Art,Lagos
9 McEwen Street, Sabo,
Opp Methodist Church, Herbert Macaulay St, Lagos.

Opening Times Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 6pm