Saturday, 8 November 2008

Picha, African Comics opens today at CCA,Lagos

Picha, African Comics November 8th – 20th December 2008

A Unique retrospective of 19 African comic artist

The African comics culture is thriving and diverse

Whilst comic art is popular in Nigeria with major newspapers providing the substantial outlet for the development of the artform, few opportunities are available for the professional presentation of Nigerian comic artist, let alone the work from other African countries within exhibition or gallery spaces here.

The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos is pleased to present Picha, African comics, an international touring multi venue exhibition with one of the leading and oldest art institutions in Nigeria, The Yusuf Gillo Art Complex Gallery at the Yaba College of Art and Technology. After the successful inaugural curatorial project ‘Democrazy’ featuring the provocative works of artists Ghariokwu Lemi, Ndidi Dike and George Osodi. This is a befitting major project with which to begin rounding off what has been a very dynamic and vibrant first year of activities for CCA,Lagos.

Comics as an artform captures the heart of the young, the old and the in-between and the African comic is doing well. African comic artists are active throughout the continent, comic festivals are being organized and many comic magazines published. Senegal broadcasts a popular television series based on a comic character (Googoorlu), the life of Mandela has been told in comic form in South Africa and they use comics to warn soldiers about the dangers of AIDS in Ethiopia.

Marguerite Abouet [Ivory Coast]
It is striking that the African comic is a reflection of Africa's (political) reality. Sometimes you have to resort to subterfuge to write about light-hearted things. The successful comics series 'Aya de Yopougon', written by Ivorian Marguerite Abouet, is a soap in drawings, with love, arguments and adultery taking the centre stage. Yet this comic is set in the tranquil Seventies of the last century, when civil war in Ivory Coast was still very far away.

In Africa, comics can be produced at very low cost. You do not need to have an academic degree to make comics, and comics communicate at a very accessible level. These three factors make this medium very suitable for a continent with a limited artistic infrastructure. However, there is a problem: comics have to be distributed if they are to be read and there are often no channels for this. Moreover, even very inexpensive comics often prove to be too expensive for some African readers.
Unique retrospective and database
Picha is a twofold project. The exhibition presents the work of 18 comic artists and 1 scenario writer, people from all over the continent. It shows us their original drawings, comic books and the comics published in newspapers and magazines. In addition, a database has been set up which contains detailed information about comic artists and cartoonists from 55 African countries.

Hector Sonon [Rep. Of Benin]

The Comic Artists Are:

T.T. Fons [Senegal] Themba Siwela [South Africa] Pahé [Gabon]
Patrick Essono, alias Pahé, Frank Odoi [Ghana]Didier Kassaï[Central African Republic],
Eric Andriantsialonina, alias Dwa,
Didier Kassaï [Central African Republic], Bob Kanza [Congo],

Kola Fayemi [Nigeria], Tayo Fatunla [Nigeria], Ramón Esono Ebalé [Equatorial Guinea]

Adjim Danngar [Chad], Farid Boudjellal [Algeria],

Marguerite Abouet [Ivory Coast], Jean Claude Ngumire [Rwanda], Hector Sonon [Rep. Of Benin], Pat Masioni [Democratic Rep. Of Congo], Mohammed Nadrani [Morocco]

Bob Kanza [Congo], Barly Baruti [Democratic Rep. Of Congo],Karliendo Villiers [South Africa]

For more information visit
Picha is curated by Joost Pollmann, managing director at the 'Stripdagen' in Haarlem and works as a comic journalist for the Dutch newspaper 'de Volkskrant'. The presentation at CCA,Lagos has been organised by Bisi Silva and Oyinda Fakeye.
Picha is an initiative of NCDO, an organization promoting awareness of international cooperation based in the Netherlands.

Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos
9 McEwen Street, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos
0702 8367106
Tuesday - Saturday 10-6 (Monday by appointment)

Yusuf Grillo Art Gallery
Yaba College of Art and Technology
Yaba, Lagos
Monday - Friday 10-6


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