A proposal by Oyinda Fakeye
Art has the ability to engage with the social and political issues within society in a more creative manner. Although a prime example of a modern African city, in Lagos the availability and unavailability of power supply remains a pervasive subject. Street lighting, where available, is not excluded from the effects of these power outages making road safety perilous at night. How can art proffer an alternative to the perennial darkness in which the teeming population finds itself? This project proposes to engage this issue through art.
The Center for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA Lagos) would like to commission a solar light-based sculpture to be displayed within the park area of Falomo roundabout, Ikoyi. Falomo roundabout is a key position in the region, as a meeting point of four major Lagos roads, a bus stop and a taxi rank, linking the mainland and the island, residential and the business district. The road is used by thousands of Lagosians and the newly refurbished park has been made available to commissions within the realm of public art. The park has also opened up to the public providing a point of recreation and as well as a sightseeing attraction for both residents and visitors to Lagos. The park is the managed by the department of Parks and Environment under Lagos state government.
The project will involve the selection of two international light based artists to provide mentorship and logistical support to two local artists. Artists Ivan Navarro (b.1972) and Jim Campbell (b. 1956) have been proposed as the international support. Navarro has extensive experience in working within the area of light based sculpture. During his youth in Chile under the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006) Navarro was accustomed to regular blackouts, social issues and political challenges similar to those seen in Nigeria’s own history have led to his contextualisation of the use of light. Jim Campbell studied electronic engineering before moving into art and over the last twenty years he has developed a work practice which fuses fine art with modern technologies. His technical capabilities and his experience working in the public arena make his expertise an important addition to the project.
Artists Richardson Ovbiebo (b.1983) and Taiye Idahor (b. 1983) have been selected as the local artists to realise this project. Both Ovbeibo and Idahor graduated from the 2007 class at the Yaba College of Technology Lagos majoring in Sculpture. Richardson’s ability to conceptualise his works has made him one of the prominent younger artists, raising issues around the politics and social dynamics within Nigeria. Working primarily as a sculpture he has also begun experimenting in other areas of visual art.
Idahor’s work is heavily influenced by the works of El Anatsui and her time spent training in his studio. Recycled materials play an important role in her work and issues around sustainability and memory are important threads in her practice. Idahor’s works are shown mainly as installation pieces.
The local and international artists will be given time to develop ideas before selecting the suitable body of work, taking into account context, audience, materials, weather, energy. Once the design has been selected artists will invite students from the art and engineering departments of the Yaba College of Technology to attend workshops that will result in the fabrication of the final piece. The process of realising the project, including the workshop and fabrication process will be documented audio-visually and through an accompanying publication. The publication will also include critical text around the subject from local and internationally selected artists and theorists.
As with all our projects there will be a public program which will include an opening ceremony and talk where the audience will be invited to gain more insight into the works through a presentation by the artists involved. Further to the talk CCA Lagos will also organize a panel discussion aimed at raising issues and possible means of challenging the problems associated with light.
The sculpture is due to be presented between March and April 2012.
CCA Lagos is an independent non-profit visual art organization set up in December 2007 to provide a platform for the development, presentation, and discussion of contemporary visual art and culture. CCA Lagos prioritizes new media and experimental visual art practice such as photography, animation, film and video, performance art, and installation art, which have been under-presented in contemporary Nigerian artistic practice. It presents a diverse program of exhibitions, workshops, talks, seminars, performances and film screenings. CCA Lagos focuses on Nigeria and the West African Region in addition to collaborating with other African and international organisations, artists and curators. CCA Lagos consists of an artspace space and a visual art library.
Oyinda Fakeye is a Curatorial Assistant at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos. She has co-ordinated projects such as Picha: African Comics (December 2008), and several video art-related initiatives such as The One Minutes Foundation workshops in Lagos (November 2008) and Linha Imaginária video art workshop (January 2009). At the CCA Lagos, Fakeye has co-ordinated exhibitions of work by local and international artists including Pinar Yolaçan, Maria Series (April 2010) and J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, Sartorial Moments and the Nearness of Yesterday (November 2010). She co-curated Identity: An Imagined State, the first video art exhibition in Nigeria featuring the work of 12 local and international lens-based media artists. She is also a founding member and director of the Video Art Network (VAN) Lagos.
In December 2010, Fakeye co-curated The Green Summary, a group exhibition of nine Nigerian artists whose work engages Nigeria’s present social and political climate as a way of reflecting on the country’s 50 years of independence from colonial rule.