Co-curator Azu Nwagbogu explains how this year’s festival will resurface hidden histories – and why, for the first time, it’s expanded into Benin
Seven artists from West Africa are showcased in the latest iteration of the New York gallery’s annual show as it continues to explore contemporary art scenes worldwide
Created across Nigeria, India and at open cast mines across Europe, Wahala is a poignant reminder that the climate crisis is everybody’s problem
“Our current notions of gender, language, spirituality, religion, time – all of it – is a white construction.”
A collaboration with writer Maryan Abdulkarim, the work is, ultimately, about presence and the act of belonging
“I’m interested in artists who are working with archival material, but not accepting the archive; resisting the authority of the archive, and pushing, and going deeper”
Gina Amama from A Whitespace Create Agency in Lagos, Nigeria, picks out what caught her eye in 2018 – including Michael Oliver Love’s “mind-blowing” editorial for Africa is Now magazine
The first event of its kind in Nigeria, LagosPhoto Festival is back for its 9th edition this autumn. Themed Time Has Gone, the main show includes work by 22 artists from around the world who engage with the idea of time in various ways, from issues of archiving to nostalgia to an Afro-based future. Artists featured in the main programme include: Ola Olatunde, who’s from Nigeria; Mary Evans (Nigeria/UK); Alfredo Jaar (Chile); and Emmanuelle Andrianjafy (Madagascar); LagosPhoto has been curated by Eva Barois De Caevel, Wunika Mukan, Charlotte Langhorst, and Valentine Umansky.
In addition other spaces across Lagos will host 41 other exhibitions during LagosPhoto Festival – with the respected Market Photo Workshop, for example, hosting an exhibition of work by emerging image-makers Dahlia Maubane, Sydelle Willow Smith and Tshepiso Mazibuko. The main festival is based in The Federal Printing Press Building on Lagos Island, Lago, and in outdoor exhibitions in spaces such as Ikorodu Park and Freedom Park, while the satellite exhibitions and events will take place in institutions such as the African Artists’ Foundation, Omenka Gallery, and Gallery 16/16.
Nadia Shira Cohen has won the $10,000 Women Photograph + Getty Images grant for her work on the abortion ban in El Salvador – and the five grants of $5000 awarded by Women Photograph with Nikon have gone to Tasneem Alsultan, Anna Boyiazis, Jess T. Dugan, Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen, and Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwen.
Nadia Shira Cohen’s series Yo No Di a Luz documents the effect that the complete ban on abortion in El Salvador has had on women – particularly on those forced to give birth to children conceived as a result of rape. “Doctors and nurses are trained to spy on women’s uteruses in public hospitals, reporting any suspicious alteration to the authorities and provoking criminal charges which can lead to between six months to seven years in prison,” writes Shira Cohen. “It is the poorer class of women who suffer the most as doctors in private hospitals are not required to report.
“Contrast, characters, dark humour, forms, shapes, awkward gestures and actions interest me,” says Noma Osula. In his portraits, the Nigerian photographer punctures the staid conventions of portraiture with playful gestures. A man, hands folded formally on his lap, blows a chewing-gum bubble; a woman, resplendent in a jade-green dress and doused in a painterly light, sucks on a red lollipop. At just 25, Osula’s sharp eye for colour and atmosphere already makes for a distinctly offbeat aesthetic. Using his vision to counter mainstream narratives has been an important drive for Osula, and a crucial part of his development as an artist. “First, it was changing the narrative of the so-called ‘Africa stigma’, then embracing imperfection, just like the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi,” he explains. “This projection of Africa as a completely dark and primitive continent, as well as what we represent, is obviously incomplete and inaccurate.”