Saturday, 20 March 2010

CCA,Lagos at Johannesburg Art Fair 26th - 28th March 2010

Friday, 5 March 2010


It has always been my dream to travel to Africa’s west and when the opportunity to come to Lagos availed itself, I seized it with both hands. My flight was uneventful, my passage through immigration & customs easy and as I walked out of Murtala Muhammed Airport’s doors into Nigeria, I was greeted by temperatures I presumed to be 40 degrees.

The first week was a typical “Get into a new environment and find your way around week.” Got my bearings from the hotel to CCA, to Chefvys, Yaba & then to Victoria Island and it was then time to dive into the mechanisms of CCA with an emphasis on the ongoing photography residency titled “On Independence & the Ambivalence of Promise

Unlike other residencies I’ve had the opportunity to attend, this was different. It was at first difficult for me to understand but slowly I got to grasp the concept. This had an intellectual edge; we’d come in and just talk, do presentations, see other artists’ works and look at photographs critically and by the time the participants went out to take images, they really knew how to and why.

The most interesting activities for me was the research participants had to do on other artists as well as the presentations done by visiting artists and curators/critics. All were quite insightful but two will stay with me for a long time. Senam Okuzdeto’sGhana Must Go: Personal Narratives, Identity & Identification” and Tam Fiofori’s History, Culture & Photography in Nigeria” with emphasis on 19thC Nigerian photographer J.A Green were truly a breath of fresh air.

The residency also set up a platform for lots of conversations amongst the participants be it at Bogobiri, Chefvys, the White House, the Shrine or anywhere else the participants assembled after hours. The friendships we formed and the endless conversations I had with Bisi, Jude, Jelili, Richardson, Gloria, Heta, Jide, Tam, Bode, Landry, Sabelo, Uche, Marja, Chidi… have left me more informed, enlightened and more equipped to live and practice in this century.

On a lighter note, the dinner party at Bisi’s was slamming. The food was probably the best I’d had in Lagos, got to meet Nigerian artists outside the residency and it was really cool dancing with guys we always relate to on super-formal levels.

Looking back, I believe what I brought back to Kenya far outweigh what I came with to Nigeria and thanks to the CCA Lagos family; Bisi, Antawan, Oyinda, Jude, Kemi & Gloria for what you’re doing for the arts in Africa.

Thom Ogonga is a artist and works with Kuona Trust, Nairobi. He was in Lagos on a Knowledge and Skills sharing residency at CCA,Lagos

Thursday, 4 March 2010

And the days roll by...

The camaderie deepens. Friendships are made, cultures interact, conversations become sweeter, and Lagos becomes a global melting pot as the days roll by. or is it days roll on.. Anyway sha!

Kerstin Pinther (1st left in pic) curator from Germany in Lagos to do research on a forthcoming exhibition hangs out with the third and final set of facilitators Daniella Wennberg, Marja Helander and Rosangela Renno. All four hanging out at a local bukka (food canteen).

As the second set of facilitators leave, a new and final set arrives.
As usual the group photo is a requirement.

ooohh! Heta is leaving us still after we managed to get her to extending her departure by 2 days. Pls don't go. Don't goooo ooo ohhh. I am begging you to stay!!!!

Mama Niyi CCA,Lagos support staff and artist Heta Kuchka. Aren't they luvely

All images copyright the artists. Courtesy of CCA,Lagos

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Meeting the Nukwus Mmonwus

always exchanging mischevious jokes with Sabelo!

I have never had this kind of wonderful experience in my photography expeditions. I met the ‘NUKWU MMONWUS’ (big names) in photography from different parts of the world and within Nigeria. My eyes are wider now, my mind broadened while my reading and speaking abilities have increased immensely. Bisi will not leave us alone!!!

See her IN ACTION PICTURES! I don’t have to tell you she is a wonderful lady. Government, in their blind state will not recognize and give her awards...anyway thanks to her and Antawan , Jude and other crew members that have seen to it that we are on our toes and comfortable at the same time.

To all our facilitators, thank you for coming!

Lucy Azubuike

Chidinma and Lucy experimenting with light

Bisi in Action. Lucy, Carrie and Bisi

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Just like yesterday

Just like yesterday, I was a kind of “kpakpakpa” amateur photographer, but the residency at CCA has transformed me into “A photographer”.

The visiting artists and curators that facilitated were astounding and exposed us to things that seem to be mountains in photography. Honestly it is a thing of joy to me.

The first week of this photography residency was a hit! Carrie was the first facilitator who introduced us to what photography is all about. She succeeded in practically explaining to us how to set studio lightning, setting of the camera to suit a particular purpose, reading of the light, shooting, knowing the rule and how to break it, making references to other artists, truth and lie in photography and video making.

She also shared her personal experiences with us that strongly featured in some of her work especially the kind of intimacy and love that exists in her family.

The second week built on the first week as Heta Kukcha, Miriam Backstrom and Mats Stjernsternt brought out the real creativity in us. Our daylong outing visiting different parts of Lagos and other art institutions and professionals fantastic,inspiring everyone to delve deep into their stream of creativity but also bearing in mind the subject matter that individuals decided to work with.

Jide Adeniyi Jones also shared his experiences in photography with us and summed it all in one line, Master tools of language so as to be able to say what you want to say” meaning that the best way to be able to communicate or tell your story very well is knowing the technicality of photography.

Akingbade Adeyinka

Monday, 1 March 2010

Still more pictures...

Richardson Ovbiebo

Richardson, William West and Senam Okudzeto. Sabelo and Miriam Backstrom

Sabelo Mlhangeni and Richardson Ovbiebo. Folarin Shasanya

Kelechi Amadi-Obi and Landry Mbassy during a visit by the residency participants to Kelechi's studio.

images copyright the artists. Courtesy CCA,Lagos