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The One Minute Africa

By Benjamin Okon

Video art was already in practice before the One Minute debut around the end of the last century. Even before the One Minute was formally introduced to Nigeria in 2007, a few artists had grappled with the video technique in various ways.

An image from a video art exhibition

Since the One Minute video workshop organized by the Art Republic in collaboration with the One Minute Foundation and the Sandberg Institute, both in the Netherlands, various workshops continue to introduce more and more artists in Nigerian to the genre. The landscape keeps on widening as the interest in video art increases, especially in the impressive participation of some Nigerian artists in video initiatives in Nigeria and beyond. Yet many may wonder what the One Minute technique is all about.

According to the initiators, the one minute is a mini world movement of exactly 60 seconds videos by the artist. They are visual candies, creative delivery of people and their way of life. The One Minute provides people with an ideal platform at festivals, workshops and the universal awards competition for the best videos. Over the years stories have been told through the video technique, some dense and bulky, others average. But the One Minute presents the opportunity to tell a story in just one minute through creative if imaginative video clips.

Consequently, the One Minute Foundation is interested in finding the opportunity to involve African video makers and institutions in the worldwide One Minute movement. This has been advantageous as over 200 works from 122 markers in nine (9) different countries have been recorded from One Minute Workshops between 2005 and 2008. A substantial part was picked for the World One Minute, a traveling video art exhibition which has been staged in Museums in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, attracting more than 70,000 visitors.

The second One Minute video art workshop was held around October 2008 at Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, Nigeria. This brought together the video work of twelve artists from different countries whose practice explores the discursive elements of our contemporary society and environment. This was part of a string of video workshops that began in 2007, spearheaded by the Amsterdam-based One Minute Foundation, and facilitated by resource persons from Nigeria, Cameroon, the Netherlands, Brazil and Angola.

This year, the One Minute Foundation, with funds from Art Collaboratory, and in collaboration with its partners in different parts of Africa, is organizing workshops preparatory to the One Minute Africa Awards in Cairo, Egypt. The workshops in Nigeria will be organized by the Art Republic in association with Video Art Network (VAN), Lagos. As C. Krydz Ikwuemesi, Emeritus President of the Art Republic, has said in Enugu, “The 2011 workshops will be held at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in June 2011.

The UNN workshop will include 25 art students selected from University of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Abia State University, University of Port Harcourt and Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu, while that of ABU, Zaria will comprise about 20 art students of that university.

Video art produced by participants at the workshops will be presented at both universities and in Enugu before being subsequently forwarded to the One Minute Foundation and the Townhouse Gallery for inclusion in the forthcoming World One Minutes Exhibition/Award to be held at the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo in September 2011.”

Operating framework for participants

At the workshops, the six categories outlined by for the Africa One Minute competition and awards will be the operating framework for participants. They include: Spoken word and sound: The art of language and sound ranging from oral history to the second on the street; in my backyard: What is it like where you live? What happens there?, Where history begins: With real people in real places, history begins, express your ideas of time and experience, from small, personal history to large scale events, Micro-commercials: small companies run by passionate owners and Portraits: Even in a single minute, the essence of person or object can be revealing portrayed.

Winners will be invited to the awards ceremony hosted by the Town House Gallery in Cairo, Egypt in September. Deadline for submissions July 2011.


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