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)