Videonale in Lagos spotlights African video art

The 22-year-old international festival of video art spearheads project in Nigeria.

Supporting local up-and-coming talent in the video art scene of Nigeria, Videonale in Lagos presents a workshop for local emerging artists as well as an exhibition featuring Nigerian and international video artists.

Emeka Ogboh, 'Àlà', 2014, two-channel video installation, colour, sound, 04m:00s. Image courtesy the artist.

Emeka Ogboh, ‘Àlà’, 2014, two-channel video installation, colour, sound, 4m:00s. Image courtesy the artist.

Launched in late January and running until 28 February 2016, Videonale in Lagos is the fruit of a collaboration between Germany’s long-standing video art festival and competition Videonale Bonn (est. 1984) and Lagos-based Video Art Network (VAN), initiated by KFW Stiftung in cooperation with the Goethe Institut Nigeria and the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos. The event takes place in Lagos, with the workshop at Goethe Institut and the exhibition at CCA Lagos and Kongi Gallery, Freedom Park.

Videonale in Lagos is themed “Changing Cities – Shifting Spaces” and aims to explore the dynamics of urban space through video:

When looking at today’s globalised, digital realities the language of moving images has become a universal tool to comment and reflect
on the ever-shifting spaces of everyday life.

Videonale Lagos held a workshop targeting emerging local artists, led by the internationally acclaimed Anglo-Ethiopian video artist Theo Eshetu in collaboration with Jude Anogwih (VAN Lagos).

Heidrun Holzfeind, 'Za Zelazna brama (behind the iron gate)', 2009, still from video, 55m:00s. Image courtesy the artist.

Heidrun Holzfeind, ‘Za Zelazna brama (behind the iron gate)’, 2009, still from video, 55m:00s. Image courtesy the artist.

An exhibition jointly curated by Jude Anogwih (VAN Lagos) with Tasja Langenbach and Jennifer Gassmann (Videonale) features the work of 19 Nigerian and international video artists, including among others:

  • Abbasi Okon
  • Aderemi Adegbite
  • Jude Anogwih
  • Theo Eshetu
  • Heidrun Holzfeind
  • Uche-Okpa Iroha
  • Otolith Group
  • Adejoke Tugbiyele
  • Emeka Udemba

A closing event on 28 February will see the presentation and screening of the adjunct project “Jogja – Lagos: Changing Cities – Shifting Spaces”, a video art workshop aiming to connect excellent emerging Indonesian and Nigerian video artists. It took place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in October 2015 as part of Biennale Jogja XIII with its topic “Hacking Conflict: Indonesia meets Nigeria”.

Emeka Ogboh, 'Àlà', 2014, two-channel video installation, colour, sound, 04m:00s. Image courtesy the artist.

Emeka Ogboh, ‘Àlà’, 2014, two-channel video installation, colour, sound, 4m:00s. Image courtesy the artist.

Videonale in Lagos Highlights

Nigerian experimental video and sound artist Emeka Ogboh animates the experience of living in the vibrant city of Lagos. Through his video and soundscapes, Ogboh presents an alternative to static representations of urban life, highlighting the constant movement and development of the fabric of his city. The artist says:

Lagos is largely a work in progress and throughout this period the city sounds of course have been in constant flux. New structures are being established, while old ones are being dismantled.

In his work on show entitled Àlà (2014), Ogboh captures the sights and sounds of Lagos in a two-channel video installation that explores the megacity’s “continued capacity to capture the imagination of people” who move there in hope of finding a better life:

In a dizzying display of manipulated images and intricate sound mixing, Lagos is painted as a space of intense hope and desire, laying bare the “dream” (àlà) that keeps it churning, yet which for many is a fleeting illusion.

Wura-Natasha Ogunji, 'Not a Ghost', 2011, video, 57m:00s. Image courtesy the artist.

Wura-Natasha Ogunji, ‘Not a Ghost’, 2011, video, 57m:00s. Image courtesy the artist.

US-based, Nigerian performance and visual artist Wura-Natasha Ogunji is best known for her video work in which she uses “her own body to explore movement and mark-making across water, land and air”.

At Videonale in Lagos Ogunji presents Not A Ghost, a film shot in Lagos and Abuja that fuses footage of the artist flying and an unexpected reaction from a bystander at an outdoor market using Ogunji’s signature stop-motion animation techniques. In a 2013 interview, the artist talks about her approach to performance and spectacle:

I’m interested in creating a particular exchange between the performers and the audience. […]I am very interested in interruptions and disorientation. […] I want people to stop to look because they are seeing something that calls their attention in a particular way–and not in a violent way.  A fight can stop traffic.  I want to interrupt someone’s daily journey with something different.  I want people to stop, to witness, to comment on the work or ask questions because they feel drawn to it, pulled by it in a way that expands the imagination.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

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Related Topics: African artists, video art, new media, film, festivals, events in Germany, events in Africa

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