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​Lagos holds first art biennial

No fewer than 43 countries will gather in Lagos ON October 14 to participate in the inaugural Lagos Biennial of Contemporary Art at the Railway
Lagos Biennial Artistic Director/founder of Akete Foundation, Folakunle Oshun, stated this at a briefing in Lagos.

He said the event with the theme,   Living   on   the   edge,will end on November 22.
Other venues are Ilukwe House, Jaekel House (Museum) and other places in Lagos.
Oshun said Living on the edge  explores the crises in  historical and  contemporarycontexts.The exhibitions are framed around the   concept of superimpositions, and   examine parallel histories and counter  narratives with   the character of the  city of Lagos  as catalyst.”
According to him, the Lagos Biennial is long overdue and will saver as platform for cultural exchange between Nigeria and the participating countries, as well as a platform for Nigerian artistes to engage with the world and showcase their talents.
“This is one of the biennial on the African continent that doesn’t just encourage an international audience but also international participation and that is a reflective of Lagos as a cosmopolitan city.
“Lagos has the talent, people in art, in literature, in music, the list goes on and on from Chinua Achebe to Fela, Wola Soyinka. We have these big names in Nigeria. Biennial is not just about fine art or visual art, there is a lot of literature, a lot film involved. We have these pockets of talents,with flashes of light everywhere.
“So, it is just about doing African thing. We also want to get invited to Venice, Italy, to document, so we go out their and say come let’s talk, think and dialogue. Our leaders are talking about this in the UN and we are always castigating them. As artists we say we have the solution, lets come together and see if we can do better than the politicians.”
The Lagos Biennial 2017 is organised by the Akete Foundation and has been endorsed by the Lagos State Government.
Part of the activities will be a book reading, art exhibition, cinematography, dinner reception at the rooftop of Goethe Institute on October 13, audio-visual installations, etc.
However, he said there was no open call for this maiden edition because of the timing and funding. “When you do an open call you must be able to fly everybody in and fund them. But for this we just made selection through our curatorial team and advisory board. And for the next edition we would have open call. So, the Lagos Biennial is open to everybody, it is something that we should embrace and should own.
“Living on the edge, theme of the biennial speaks in many different ways,” said Oliver Enwonwu, the President, Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), who is also a member of the Lagos Biennial.
“Why Lagos at this point in time? I think it imperative because Lagos is growing in the cultural scene. I would like to say Lagos is on fire, every weekend we have exhibitions.
The exhibition catalogue is becoming more exquisitely published, better quality images, critical text being written by many scholars, we have the growth of the auction houses, and with such a domestic scene.
“It is also very imperative that we bring in the biennial these little occurrences into more focus and project them into wilder audiences and more global platform.”
Enwonwu said: “The biennial tells you who is the cutting edge artist. It tells you those who will  bring in something deferent, it will talk about the geographic boundary, psychological boundary that the organisers and curators are trying to break and push forward.
‘’These are very interesting occurrences, I hope it will be something sustainable, bring more privet people getting involved, most especially sponsors, when the government get involved because I think it is a good way when we are talking about economic diversification of Nigerian, and of cause to cerebrate our rich cultural heritage, to celebrate Africa, the people and of cause one way of bring our culture into contemporary manner to global platform all over the world.”
Legacy   1995,    a   historical   and   environmental   interest group   in   Nigeria   is   the   main  partner  for   the   Lagos Biennial   2017   and   will   be   granting   access   to   monumental and   historic   architecture   in   the   city   of   Lagos. Biennial   Team Folakunle   Oshun   Artistic   Director/Curator,    Amira   Paree –   Co-Curator,    Erin   Rice   ,  Consulting   Coordinator   Artist Talks,    Akor   Opaluwah ,  Coordinator   Artist   Talks,    AminatLawal-Agoro,   Project   Manager, Sola   Akintunde, Co-Curator.
Participating   artists  are Jelili   Atiku, Rahima   Gambo, Ayo   Akinwande, Lena Athanasopoulou, Sam   Hopkins,  and   David   Lale, Saba   Zavarei, David   Palacios, Arrigo Reuss, Lamis   Haggag, Dunja   Herzog, Jess   Atieno, Abdulrazaq   Awofeso, Rita   GT, Niyi   Olagunju, Phoebe   Boswell, Kainebi Osahenye, Adeola Olagunju, Ranjeeta   Kumari Yara MekaweiEca   EpsObuh   Christopher   Nelson Amina   Zoubir  Olivia  Jasinski, Tito Aderemi-Ibitola, Kathleen   Hearn, Jerry Buhari, Youngjoo   Yoo, Poku   Chereme, Maie   Okafor, Amol   Pati, Tori Wrånes,Taiye   Idahor, Januario   Jano, Ro   Caminal,Ala   Kheir,Wura-Natasha-Ogunji, Sébastien   Mazauric, Fati   Abubakar, Delio   Jasse, Kris   Russo, Simon   Daniel,   Tegnander   Wenzel, Silas   Mensah and Mawuenya Amudzi.


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