Invisible Boarders explores cultural diversity across Nigeria for ‘The Collective Truth’
The second edition of Trans-Nigerian Road Trip, Borders Within II, kicked off on October 8 and runs till November 16. This year, organisers, Invisible Borders, will travel across Nigeria, photographing and writing on the road with the aim of mapping diversity across regions, states and ethnic formations in post-colonial Nigeria.
Nigeria is an entity with multiple histories delineated by British artificial construct. But the question, which lingers is, “In a period of intense economic recession, political instability, violence, corruption and an unfettered health crisis, is there a distance between what is shared and what is privately owned?”
This, according to Invisible Borders team, is the question that this year’s participants will seek answer to by a project funded by Von-Brochowski-Sud-Nord-Stiftung. Also supporting the project are Epidalert, CCA Lagos and Canon. Participating artists this year are Kenechukwu Nwatu, Emeka Okereke, Nengi Nelson, Kechi Nomu, Yinka Elujoba, James Bekenawei, Amara Nicole Okolo, Kemi Falodun and Innocent Ekejiuba.
In 2016, participants traveled across the states in 46 days. This year, a different route will be explored in 36 days, beginning from Lagos. The artists, comprising three photographers, one filmmaker, three writers and two administrators, will be saddled with developing one major body of work, as a follow-up to the trip. Writers will be required to produce long, travel essays of 7,000 words, while the photographers will be required to produce an encompassing body of work from the trip.
There is a narrative that Borders Within II would add to Nigeria’s current situation. One of the participating artists, Yinka Elujoba (writer), voiced his view about the project, saying, “We believe in something called the collective truth. It is not about the Igbo man’s truth, the Yoruba man’s truth or the Hausa man’s truth, but a collective truth. What we are creating is a space for discussion, where everyone has a say without any form of separation. We are not trying to define what Nigeria should be, but what it is. We should stop shouting about what we want, as individuals but what everyone deserves as a nation.”
In addition, with the aim to present several short, personal narratives by residents of the towns and cities along the route, Invisible Border will create a crowd-sourced narrative of contemporary Nigeria. The narratives will be made into a lengthy documentary film made available to the public.
Although he was first apprehensive, participating photographer, James Bekenawei, said it would be his first time travelling around the country, as a Nigerian.
“I am eager to see how this ‘Nigerianness’ plays out and to have the opportunity to explore, not just personally, but as bridge to connect to others,” he added.
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