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Abdullahi Sets Forth With Everyday People


‘Diligence,’ one of the works on display at the photo-show

‘Diligence,’ one of the works on display at the photo-show

Against the backdrop of increased level of socio-economic issues in Nigeria and beyond, a first solo photo exhibition, Everyday People by Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi has reopened discussion on the need to visually document human developments, complexities nay intricacies in the country. The exhibition, which opened last Wednesday at Thought Pyramid Arts Centre, Libreville Crescent, Off Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, would run till Sunday, August 23.

The show, according to Abdullahi, is a product of documenting his relationship with his subjects during his years of interaction as a photographer. “It is my own way of helping to make a call for change in the affairs of the people as an advocacy through this visual art form. My works are meant to, in an instant, show the impact of the issues of lives of people, the different geographical contexts, the cultural and professional backgrounds of the people that I photograph. Everyday, as I walk or drive around, I take pictures of people in the streets. I look for those fleeting moments when human emotions and physical surroundings combine to create stories of joy, sorrow, contradictions, absurdity, anger, humour and real life situations”.

For years, Abdullahi has come to appreciate photography as a powerful tool “to document images that speak of major social significance. There are lots of artists who believe in ‘arts for arts’ sake’. I don’t think photography should be purely for decorating the walls. It should be much more than that”,

As a social documentary photographer, the idea, according to him, is to portray the different circumstances of his subject in order to correct it and bring about reforms. He said photography could be a powerful tool for advocacy, and that unlike text or video, it carries a large amount of information in an instant and easily interpretative albeit from different perspectives.

He reminisced, “I started liking photos as a child but the passion grew when I joined the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) as a producer. That opened my eyes to the power of the camera. In 1998, when I travelled to France for the World Cup fiesta, the first item I bought as a memorabilia was a YASHICA camera. I still have that camera”.

Photography, in his view, is an encounter between the photographer and the photographed, saying the encounter happens everywhere – in the street, on the road, in the home and in studios, which is the traditional home of portraiture.

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1 Comment
  • absan

    Action speaks louder than words. Tackling poverty from all fronts. Well done.