Monday, 31 March 2008

Photographers turn out en masse for George Osodi's exhibition opening at CCA,Lagos

Paradise Lost:Revisiting the Niger Delta. Photographic works by George Osodi opened to an impressive turnout on saturday afternoon. I haven't seen that many photographers congregate for such a longtime, old faces and many new ones too demonstrating the esteem in which Osodi is held by his colleagues both young and old. Apart from the photographers, visual artists also made a good showing. I emphasis this as in Nigeria the 2 worlds as still poles apart. Apart from Uche Iroha - Depth of Field member (DoF) There are only a handful of fine artists who work consistently with photography. The art scene in Lagos as many of us continue to lament remains stagnantly conservative with hierarchial boundaries firmly delineated. In spite of the international visibility that many young photographers are garnering a lot of work still needs to be done within the country for its widespread acceptance.

George Osodi, photographer and Bisi Silva, curator of Paradise Lost
The day started with me calling a friend Lotanna Ojukwu (see pic below) who is a serious art enthusiast and has small but interesting art collection. I called to remind him about the opening. He replied that photography is not really his 'thing'. I told him that this was a photography with a difference and if after he has seen the exhibition and he still is not interested I won't pester him - too much. He muttered something about how busy he was and he will try and come in early. As I was still busy running around with the usual last minute things, he came up to the art library to meet me saying Wow this exhibition is really good and he has called his friend who is a big shot lawyer from the Niger Delta and must see and invite some of his friends. So we have one convert. We will work hard over the next 5 -6wks to get more converts.

Director/Curator Bisi Silva deliver a short welcome to visitors. George Osodi looks on.
Paradise Lost is the third and final solo exhibition of Democrazy, the inaugural curatorial project of the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos. The curatorial framework of the exhibition sought to explore the concept of Democracy within an Nigeria context. What do we understand by Democracy? What kind of democracy would be relevant to our context? How do we begin to negotiate the possibilities? We also wanted to highlight the way in which our leaders continue to fail in their responsibilities to a teeming and expectant populace and to contribute to a debate not through empty rhetoric but through the powerful artworks of three important contemporary Nigerian Artists, Lemi Ghariokwu, Ndidi Dike and George Osodi.

We also want to contribute to the professionalisation and development of the visual art sector, challenge and break the stranglehold of a conservative art sector in which the education sector has played - or not played - a pivotal role due to its inability to reform itself in tune with 21st century expectations and a public sector that lies postrate and comatose. The global art scene has never been more dynamic, more financial buoyant and Nigerian artists, galleries and institutions need to restrategise and reposition themselves to take advantage of their 'cultural equity' as Slyvester Ogbechie puts it. CCA,Lagos has been lucky that without a single government, institutional or international funding, ordinary people, artists, colleagues and friends have been able to come together and make sure we got this far, they have held us up and cleared the path. As I keep saying this is a journey and we don't want to go it alone. Nigeria is a tough terrain,we may fail or we may succeed but the importance lies in trying.


Installation View of the exhibition Paradise Lost

Visitor face to face to a militant. Bisi Silva with an artist, Uche Iroha and Ato Arinze.

Cross Section of the visitors.

Installation View of the exhibition Paradise Lost.

Prof Aradeon talking to Iria Ojeikere of PictureWorks Extra.


Lotanna Ojukwu and Eckhard Thiemann. George Osodi talking to artists.

3 Comments:

Blogger The "colored" Museum said...

Congratulations Bisi! Your hard work and commitment shows. I am so happy that the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos exists.
The exhibition looks wonderful.
Peace&Blessings,
Shiree

2 April 2008 at 19:00  
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10 February 2010 at 07:42  
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3 March 2010 at 10:25  

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