By PRISCA SAM-DURU
The historic 2010 photography festival, Lagos photo: No judgement, Africa under the prism organized by African Artists Foundation (AAF) in partnership with Etisalat Nigeria which opened last October to celebrate the rich heritage of Nigeria as it marked its 50th anniversary in addition to addressing some socio-economic problems in Africa came to a close last week at the civic center with a grande finale and exhibition of an amateur photographic competition.
The inaugural edition of the Lagos photo project tagged, Lagos photo: Africa under the prism, it will be recalled, opened in October 2010 at multiple outdoor venues across Lagos metropolis at Muri Okunola park, Victoria Island; Falomo Roundabout, Ikoyi,and MKO Abiola park, Ikeja as well as several indoor venues including the EKO hotel and Suites, the Civic center, Life House and the Office of the Embassy of the kingdom of the Netherlands, showcasing arts in public spaces designed to initiate positive changes and social awareness in the whole of Africa continent.
Under the theme, Lagos under the prism, the amateur competition which was thrown open from the 14th of October 2010 to 30th January 2011 to all amateur photographers across all ages, working and living in Lagos , attracted the interest of about 110 photographers and later narrowed down to 25 based on their creativity, composition, relevance to theme, technical quality and overall impression.
Aside works by Aderemi Adegbite, Emeka Ebeniro, Peter Bello, Benjamin Ofoesuwa, Seyi Olakkulehin, Tosin Oshinowo, Emmanuel Arewa, Allwell Okpi, Idowu Alaya, Jarret Jarikre, Wome Uyeye, Sadiq Adeola Adams, Julius Idaka, Leshi Daniels, Abdulkareem Abdulraheem, Chinenye Godsprosperity, Olufemi Abolade, Oluwatosin Gbemile, Sulaiman Afose, Toun Okunnu, Babatunde Ogunjana, Monday Anthony, Oguntimehin Ariyo, Shodiya Adisa and Enajite Aggreh; there were beautiful photographs by Grange schools primary 5 pupils which told different stories relating to the theme of the competition.
Extolling AAF for the efforts put in place to highlighting the significance of photography in the preservation of culture and as a tool for effecting national change, the Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos state Governor on political matters, Rev Tunji Adebiyi who represented Gov. Fashola, said the competition afforded the artists a rare opportunity to develop their potentials in the world of photography.
Adebiyi who appreciated Etisalat for encouraging young people to know the importance of documentation through photography, applauded the artists for their creativity, maturity and ingenuity in the works displayed.
According to him, Lagos State is interested in programmes of this nature which he said is the reason, “4 years ago, when Gov. Fashola was sworn in, he kick-started the problem identification process through photo documentation after which policies were made before implementation which evidently, brought about the changes we see around Lagos State today.”
Commenting on the quality of the photos, he said the array of works portrayed objective criticism which is exactly what the Lagos State government needs to identify both internal and external strength to enable it provide the necessities to make life bearable for Lagosians, reiterating the state government’s determination to partner with AAF in future festivals to showcase the old and new Lagos as well as showing the public the extent at which damages done by rural migration to Lagos has been repaired.
Allwell Okpi, a Metro desk reporter with the Next newspaper emerged the first price winner with his work titled, Yes !, I live on water. It tells the story of the travails of poor Lagosians in deprived Lagos communities like Makoko built on water where people live in matchbox-like wooden shacks on the lagoon, who are cut off from Fashola’s mega city plan. Shodiya Adisa (Lagoon) and Tosin Oshinowo (Narrow expectations)carted away the second and third prices respectively. They were rewarded with some innovative and world – class products from Etisalat while the remaining 22 were awarded certificates by the chief information officer of Etisalat, John Murray .