The Arts

November 7, 2022

Lagos Photo Festival 2022: When images recount ordeal, speak to future

Lagos Photo Festival 2022: When images recount ordeal, speak to future

By Chris Onuoha

“The human brain according to medical experts, records, and interprets factual and fictional instances through the eyes. The camera in-like manner became a bodily extension of the human mind for shaping and sculpting images,” on quote.

This assertion vividly describe the focus of the Lagos Photo Festival objectives as the organisers lead us into another visual experience in their 2022 Lagos Photo Festival that is ongoing.

Showcasing with the theme; “Remember Me – Liberated Bodies, Charged Objects” the exhibition of works of about 30 photographers collated to interpret this intent, is poised to bring to fore images of our time, that reflect moments and topical issues which affect our lives.

Unveiled on 29th October, at Alliance Francaise/Mike Adenuga Center, Ikoyi, the exhibition runs till November 12th with satellite exhibition venues that included Falomo Roundabout, Ikoyi.
The festival encompasses an engaging programmes that features exhibitions, workshops, discussions, film screenings and large-scale outdoor installations.

Describing the logical approach and essence of this particular theme, “Remember me…” the management in a release expressed “that photography as a faithful documenter of events and happenings from the 19th century, seconds as a tool for subjective, fictional narration that trick us into dream-like imagined worlds.

“The artists engage the language of photography to evolve a new language for our engagement, capturing and addressing our most pressing issues and present them for dialogical engagement to determine the way we shape the present and build our futures.”

It also stated that “while the human mind is the site for the negotiations and fermentation of visual cues more than ever, human has migrated into the visual virtual space where the ocular language is transforming and evolving with rapid pace.” Adding that in a time where social media becomes a resource for petitions, affirmative action, social justice, policy or political action ‘Remember Me’ invites us to challenge the subjectivity of colonial archives, build and populate sustainable new modes guided by ancestral and contemporary wisdom.

About 30 photographers with selected works that intrepet the theme include Olaoluwa Adamu(Nigeria); Ṣeun Adeniyi (Nigeria); Toyin Adedokun(Nigeria); Adesegun Adeokun(Nigeria); Yusuf Adesola(Nigeria); Jumoke Adeyanju(Nigeria/Germany); Taiwo Aina(Nigeria); Morenike Ajayi(Nigeria/Canada); Owoyemi Ajibola(Nigeria); Oluyomi Akinnagbe(Nigeria); TaoheedBayo (Nigeria/USA); Cercled’Artdes Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise(CATPC)(DRCongo).

Others are David Dawali (Nigeria); Benson Ibeabuchi(Nigeria); Femi Johnson(Nigeria); Danielle Mbonu(Nigeria); Oyedeji Mohammed(Nigeria); Oke Oluwasegun(Nigeria); Michael Jerry Opara (Nigeria); Adeolu Osibodu(Nigeria); Aghogho Otega(Nigeria); Dafna Tal(Israel); Ebisike Valentine(Nigeria); Unachukwu Vincent(Nigeria); Hugo Weber(Italy) with a compilation from Reuters Photographers and another from the Through the Lens Collective Photographers.

Also featured in the exhibition are documented performances by BolatitoAderemi-Ibitola(Nigeria); Boshnikanko(Nigeria); DodjiEfoui(Togo); Ọlọ́runjedálọ(Nigeria); OmoIna(Nigeria); TalkingDrummers(Nigeria).

Speaking with Azu Nwabogu, founder, Africa Artists Foundation and chief curator of the Lagos Photo Festival, he said, “The significant thing that had happened in this edition is that we have been able to work towards the theme of the festival which is “Liberated bodies, charged objects.

“We have turned our hands into the power of photography to bring the age long into the present time. And to liberate the image from two-dimension form into a more performative and more realistic form that has an urgency in the present time.

“And so, there are lots of issues that we have been talking about for years through photography; the art scene and the effect of human activities on the climate. They are not things that are far in the future, but things that are happening now in the present. We want to show how photography can collapse past three-time lives; the past, the present and into the future. Lots of the work you see at this exhibition reflects their contemporary realities.

“We don’t want to forget the key things that shape our journey, for example, the #Endsars protest of 2020. We don’t want this memory to fade, as we brought the iconic images that define that moment. We also believe that photography is the real medium of our age, and it has the power to transform and create change. That is what we are trying to do here,” Azu said.

Talking about reflections towards the political wave that Nigeria is passing through now, Azu added, “That’s exactly what photography can do. The question is what are the biggest topics that affects us today; that affects our food security, environment, climate change’ social justice? These are all we reflect in this year exhibition, more than the last four editions we have had. We have had a very strong focus on photo journalism. That is documentary and news photography. It is also to an eye to 2023 with elections coming up. We want to tell these stories where Nigeria and Africa are coming from more, and should be heading to.”