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Contemporary artists move beyond photojournalistic gaze

By Anino Aganbi

The Lagos Photo Foundation holds its fifth edition of the annual Lagos Photo Festival in Lagos, Nigeria. It is the first and only international arts festival of photography in Nigeria. In a month long program, events include exhibitions, workshops, artist presentations, discussions, screenings, and large scale outdoor installations in congested public spaces in Lagos. Lagos Photo aims to provide a platform for the development and education of contemporary photography in Africa by establishing mentorship and cross-cultural collaborations with local and international artists. Lagos Photo presents photography as it is embodied in the exploration of historical and contemporary issues, the promotion of social program, and the reclaiming of public spaces. Lagos Photo 2014 features forty photographers spanning across twenty-one countries.

The theme, Staging Reality, Documenting Fiction, examines contemporary photographers working in Africa who negotiate the boundaries and relationships between photography, beliefs, and truths. Incorporating conceptual and performative strategies that expand traditional photographic practice, many contemporary artists working on the continent move beyond the confines of the photojournalistic gaze.

Meddina Dugger,(Head curator) stated “These artists produce work that considers the complex social and political concerns that define a new Africa in the twenty-first century, and they explore how the ubiquity of images plays a vital role in how reality is constructed and articulated. Utilizing genres such as staged narratives, performance, appropriation, self-portraiture, and still life, these artists push the temporal and spatial boundaries of the photographic medium.” In doing so, Staging Reality, Documenting Fiction considers how these artists imagine different futures and charter fictive worlds, using photography as a catalyst to investigate the changing realities of Africa today. “Through our numerous collaborations, Lagos Photo continues to provide a platform for the improvement and progression of professional and emerging photographic talent in a comprehensive public programming initiative that includes workshops, artist presentations, and portfolio reviews facilitated by prominent local and international photographers” she disclosed.

Some of the participating artists include: Ade Adekola (Nigeria), Laurence Aëgerter (France),Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou (Benin) ,Jenevieve Aken (Nigeria),Seun Akisanmi (Nigeria), Aisha Augie-Kuta (Nigeria), Ricardo Cases (Spain), Edson Chagas (Angola), Kudzanai Chiurai (Zimbabwe),Pierre- Christophe Gam (France/Cameroon),Angélica Dass (Brazil),Cristina de Middel(Spain),Delphine Fawundu (Sierra Leone/USA),Glenna Gordon (USA),Hassan Hajjaj (Morocco),Jacqueline Hassink (Netherlands),Nicolas Henry (France),Jan Hoek (Netherlands), Sam Hopkins (UK/Kenya) and a host of others.


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