Thursday, 11 December 2008

Congratulations to Uche Iroha for his 2008 Prince Claus Award

In a beautiful and ambient ceremony photographer and DoF member Uche James Iroha was presented with the international award of the Prince Claus Fund a sum of 25,000 euro in recognition of his service of the development of photography as a contemporary artform in Nigeria, the quality of his artistic practice and his mentorship of a new generation of photographers. A laudable achievement for a young man. It is telling that such an important award comes from outside than from within.

The extract from the Award publication states 'he is the leading light of a new generation of Nigerian photographers. By fusing the documentation of everyday reality with the creative language of
imagery, Uchechukwu expands the possibilities of photography, pushing local art in new directions.' It goes on further to say that he is awarded 'for his striking photographic work, for his stimulation of photography as a contemporary Nigerian artform, and for his energetic support for young artists'.

At such a young 'professional' age, (sorry old man) I know this is only the beginning of bigger things to come. But more than anything else it means and it moves the debate about photography in Nigerian from the reactionary and dull - Is it art or is it not art towards one in which we begin to chart a proper art historical discourse around the medium placing it within its rightful position in the context of the fine arts.

Congrats Uche!!!!!!! The battle will be (W)ONE

The series Fire, Flesh and Blood (2004) depicting open air abattoirs won the Elan Prize at the African Photography Encounters in 2005.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

A nice 12 month celebration of CCA,Lagos

Monday the 8th was exactly 12 months since CCA,Lagos officially opened to the public. It was such an emotional day that I was speechless (polite way of saying slightly hysterical from stress and fatique) or was it incoherent that all the wonderful things i wanted to say never came out.

However this time I was not going to allow that to happen and I prepared my short 15min presentation of the last 12 months titled 'wouldn't take nothing for my journey now' after the collections of essays by Maya Angelou. Whilst preparing the images from all the activities from the past year, it was gratifying to realise that we had managed to lay the foundation for the organisation and what people here sometimes make you think is not possible is really possible and all that with little or no funding. So I say as we do in Nigerian parlance. The glory is God's. or something like that. hmm.

Anyway Monday turned out a beautiful and special days a nice turnout of people who came to listen to Prof Yacouba Konate's lecture. This was followed by a short talk by leading Nigerian art collector Engr. Yemisi Shyllon.

As it was Sallah and we didn't want our guest to leave empty handed and CCA,Lagos is aggressively trying to gain more visibility and acceptability for photography, we gave out a small original photography by George Osodi to all those present. The work has been released by CCA, Lagos by very generous courtesy of the artist in a limited edition of 60. The audience appreciated the gift and for many it will be the first work of photographic art in which we hope will be a growing interest.

The afternoon ended with a champagne reception with food, cakes and funnnn! Will add pictures later.

Monday, 8 December 2008

CCA Lagos celebrates 12 months with 2nd Art-iculate lecture

CCA,Lagos is pleased to present the 2nd lecture in the Art-iculate programme. On this occasion of our first year anniversary we welcome back our respected colleague, curator and academic Prof. Yacouba Konate, who was part of the first lectures series of IVAC in 2000/2001. Engr Yemisi Shyllon joins us on this august occasion as our Special Guest of Honour.
Monday 8th December 2008, 3pm – 4.30pm

Professor Yacouba Konate,
Curator, Critic, Academic, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Curatorial Practices: “The foreigner has big eyes, but he does see nothing”

There is a proverb that is found everywhere you go in Africa that states: “The foreigner has big eyes, but he does see nothing”. Most of the time, the curator of large, international shows acts as the perfect foreigner. He will act as a tourist would: he will rush to the main galleries, to the studios of the most famous artists without taking a look at the essential part of the city: the small differences that make the ambiance, the social and political preoccupations and the people, unique. He will only reach the central part of the city body. Which raises the question of how to promote a curatorial practice that could renew the list of artists and open up new possibilities.