Personal blog of Bisi Silva on contemporary visual art and culture in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, and on life in Lagos and Nigeria.
Sunday, 28 February 2010
Doing the unimaginable?
It has been really great and interesting in this residency so far. I never thought it would be this loaded in terms of the facilitators involved, the talk sessions, portfolio reviews, and participants creating images inside and outside the premises, practical sessions, critic sessions, and lots more.
It’s the first time I would be participating in a workshop as extensive as this, though I have participated in one before, this comes out very different, and I find it very challenging, meeting with creative people, sharing ideas and building up myself and practice. I see this as a strong driving force for me to go out, explore and do the unimaginable.Chidinma Nnorom All images copyright Chidinma Nnorom. Courtesy CCA,Lagos
The 2nd and 3rd week involved intensive portfolio review sessions with visiting artists and curators as well as the participants talking extensively about their past and current work. Akingbade discussing his work with Stephen Frailey Chair of the Photography department School of Visual Art, New York. Philippe Pirotte, Director, Kunsthalle Bern responding to artists' works and during the presentation on the artists, themes and issues which inform his curatorial practice. Crit time for participants in front of visiting artists, curators and colleagues. A self portrait by participant Adeyinka Akingbade Basel based Ghanaian artist Senam Okudzeto gives a presentation about her artistic practice. Members of the audience during Okudzeto's talk. Uche Okpa-Iroha talking about his work.
William West Adeyinka Akingbade Bode Akinbiyi Richardson Ovbiebo Following a one day excursion during the second week participants of the CCA Art Photography Residency gathered on the gallery space level to review the prints, engage in discussions and have works critiqued by some members of the Residency’s extensive list of facilitators which included Tam Fiofori, Bode Akinbiyi, Miriam Backstrom, Heta Kuchka, Philippe Pirotte, Mats Stjernstedt, and Bisi Silva. Mats Stjernstedt and Heta Kuchka One of the most interesting and enlightening aspects of these group image review sessions for participants has been having the other participants interpret the themes and cultural messages in your work before the artist is allowed to speak about a particular piece. This process, this opening of the “doors of perception”, has greatly enabled us to identify subtexts that have remained hidden to us, place our photographs in the wider context of photographic history and enable us further refine our skill in articulating and presenting elements of our body of work. Chidinma Nnorom The portraits illustrate the character of these sessions in their humour, seriousness and also a little bit the symbiotic relationship that has quickly sprung up between the facilitators and participants of the Residency. Images and text by Folarin Shasanya.
Richardson Ovbiebo Jelili Atiku, Iria Ojeikere and Mats Stjernstedt Tam FioforiLandry Mbassy All images copyright Folarin Shasanya. Courtesy CCA,Lagos
“…photography is no longer a ‘mortal enemy’ or a ‘humble servant’ to art. It is currently enjoying significant re-evaluation in terms of its profile, acceptance and status…these developments mirror its exciting advances and shifts as a medium…”- Susan Bright (Art Photography Now, 2005) London: Thames & Hudson Ltd
The trends of events that have been fleeting past in the previous days until this moment have been breathtaking, energetic and downright exciting. There were insightful paper readings, intelligent and informative presentations by the international guest artists and speakers.
We were all nostalgic and introspective when Heta Kuchka pulled us all into a whirling soul-searching rollercoaster ride into her world of photography and videos. She shared intimate fragments of her past; her fantasies, insecurities and fears, and made us confront and grapple with a universal fear that we all cringe from—the diverse nuances associated with the grim reality of death.
Mats Stjernstedt made us sit on the edge of our seats with the aspect of photography that many of us in this part of our world ignore and maybe, take for granted: Documentary Photography. I was personally inspired by the way he projected what I would have initially overlooked as mundane and boring in a very vibrant and brilliant way.
Miriam Backstrom’s silent pictures still scream out the history we have to recover, the memories we can find and the possibilities we can discover and create even in the most empty and void places in our respective worlds. Her lectures were also intriguing and gave us all relevant insights on the principles associated with and involved in taking creative pictures.
But I daresay that the Nigerian photography veteran, Tam Fiofori’s, talk “History, Culture and Photography in Nigeria” was the unforgettable highlight of the week. His reading stoked the tensed but dying embers of the prevalent issue of Nigeria’s dilemma of losing her past in the bid to compromise with a future that conforms with the norms of the global community and subtly imperious western influences, flaring up a vibrant but important discussion on a historical heritage that this present generation seemed to have altogether ignored or taken for granted, a past fraught with the uncelebrated yet significant pioneering efforts of photographers like J.A. Green and few others like himself.
The discussion also revealed the challenges photographers face, including the preclusions and prejudices they sometimes struggle with in a country that is slowly stirring up to embrace the significance of their contribution due to the aura of suspicion as well as the survivalist and materialistic mindset and suspicion enshrouding a people still haunted by the turbulent stages in our nation’s democratic journey. Interestingly, this dialogue foreshadowed certain experiences we encountered during our outdoor photography session.
Daniella Wennberg gives a talk at CCA,Lagos on Saturday 27th February 3pm
CCA,Lagos continues its public programme lectures during On Independence and The Ambivalence of Promise within the context of the International Art Photography Residency.
Daniella van Dijk-Wennberg – curator
TOPIC :ON NORWAY, AN INSIGHT INTO THE NORWEGIAN ART SCENE, IKM GALLERY AND CONTEMPORARY CURATORIAL PRACTICE.
DATE & TIME SATURDAY 27TH FEBRUARY 3PM
PLACE: CCA,LAGOS 9 MCEWEN STREET, OFF HERBERT MACAULAY ST, SABO, YABA, LAGOS Daniella Wennberg Short Bio
Since 2001, Daniella van Dijk-Wennberg has been a curator at IKM in Oslo (Intercultural Museum), now a department of the Oslo Museum. She was curator of the Agder Art Centre in Kristiansand 1997-1999, following two years as manager of Sørlandsutstillingen, the annual art exhibition of the three southernmost counties of Norway. She has also worked for the Arendal Kunstforening, renowned for its attention to the works of young contemporary artists. Exhibitions curated by Van Dijk-Wennberg include Laboratory – Juan Brito Vargas (2003); Woven together – Arts and Crafts in a Multicultural Context (also shown at the UN building in Geneva, 2004); Active Immigrant, Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel (2005); Manga (2005); Interactions, Alexander Grüner (2006). Her latest project is Maputo: A Tale of One City which she curated together with Bisi Silva and Marianne Hultman. She has been a contributor to numerous periodicals and exhibition catalogues, as well as to books on art history, e.g. Struck by Lightning, An art historical introduction to electrical lighting design for the domestic interior, André Koch (Ed.), Rotterdam 1994. Daniella van Dijk-Wennberg was born in 1966 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. She is a master of fine arts from the University in Leiden.
CCA,Lagos acknowledges the support of OCA, Office for Contemporary Art, Norway for Daniella Wennberg's participation in On Independence and The Ambivalence of Promise, An International Art Photography Residency.
After much time spent indoors, it was now time to brave the heat and move into the open. There was a group extension that allowed the Nigerian participants to show their African and other International guest different areas of Lagos and meet other professionals in the art sector. First off was to meet British-Nigeria architect/historian Prof. John Godwin, this was followed by a visit to the National Museum to engage with our cultural heritage before going for some nice breeze at the beach. This was followed by a visit to one of Lagos' top photographers and Depth of Field Collective member Kelechi Amadi-Obi. The final visit was to Yaba market. Enjoy some of the pictures below. All images copyright the artists. Courtesy of CCA,Lagos.
Coming to CCA is a whole new experience. As an artist/photographer, I have attended a lot of workshops and seminars but the quality of materials and guests here is amazing.I’ve always been an apostle of indigenous platforms for African artists and CCA has positioned itself just as one.The more CCA’s we have in our space, the more artists’ with purpose and relevance this continent will produce.
It’s been fun all the way working with artists from Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, Finland, United States and the home grown ones. The affinity is contagious and the atmosphere has been very, very cordial allowing each of us to learn from the wealth of experience made available by the facilitator of this noble project.
“On Independence and the Ambivalence of promise” represents a peoples’ search for hope and a future. The repair of a disjointed polity and search for a new paradigm that will be a true representation of what NigeriaI’m happy to be part of this new awakening as an artist.