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LagosPhoto Festival to redress bad media representation of Africa


CEO of Bantu Photo, Ayoola Trimnell (left); Ford Foundation representative, Paul Nwulu; Director of LagosPhoto, Azu Nwagbogu; Development Manager, Lagos Photo, Nguveren Ahua and Architect, LagosPhoto, Kayode Okuneye

The annual LagosPhoto Festival has been scheduled to run from November 24 through December 15. It has as theme Regimes of Truth. This year’s edition seeks to explore two major historical events that occurred in Nigeria, and continue to define the global visual representation of Africa – the Nigerian Civil War (1867 – 1970) and FESTAC ’77.

The festival will explore various tensions between faith, reality and belief through smokescreens, with ambivalence being a dynamic intersection of photographic encounters that feature the most recent creative output and world premier of the new series, ‘Black Pope,’ by renowned, award-winning artist, Samuel Fosso. His work delves into politics of religion in Africa and confronts its image dissimulations. It will also feature a comprehensive photo essay by Dutch photographer, Kadir Lohuizen.


According to the director LagosPhoto Festival, Azu Nwagbogu, Regimes of Truth seeks to tell the actual truth about Africa as compared to how the world views Africa, noting, “There are two major historical events that continue to define the global visual representation of Africa and both historic events happened here in Nigeria: the Nigeria Civil War, with the declaration of Biafra as a nation state, and the second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, also known as FESTAC ’77. The latter’s attempt to redress the damage done to the image and representation of Africa in the media clearly did not attain its full potential and LagosPhoto will explore the legacy of FESTAC and the Nigerian Civil War.”

He also announced partnership with National Geographic, which will come to work with the team in selecting one photographer, who will receive the sum of $10,000 cash prize, with the money going towards helping him or her develop a career in photography and also support a few to become National Geographic photographers for Africa.

This year’s line up of exhibitions and events is expansively experiential in scope, transforming attendees from spectators to being integral part of the festival’s landscape. Lagos Photo will feature a number of new works, some produced on commission in partnership with Lagos Photo like Osborne Macharia’s ‘No Touch Am’ 2017, Leonce Raphael Agbodgelou’s ‘Love and Fear Woman’ 2017, and Cristina De Middel’s ‘unknown soldier’ 2017.

To give commendation to the initiative was a representative of Ford Foundation, Paul Nwulu, who said they were proud to partner with Lagos Photo Festival, “We are looking at a long term partnership with LagosPhoto Festival. Photography gives voice to the voiceless; this would give us the power to control our own narratives. We will control what goes out there about Nigeria and Africa as a whole.”

According to Development Manager, LagosPhoto, Nguveren Ahua, there will be six locations for showcasing works this year, with African Artists foundation being the main location and five other locations. Submissions have been made from a good number of countries like Nigeria, Sudan, France, U.S., Cote d’Ivoire, Spain, Netherlands, U.K., Cameroon, Angola, Kenya, Uganda and Italy.

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