Organized by Akete Art Foundation, Lagos will witness its first contemporary art biennial in October 2017. This new development was announced by Folakunle Oshun, the artistic director of the biennial.
Poised to push the boundaries of contemporary art, the initiative is a highly welcomed addition to the rapidly expanding Lagos art scene that has until now focused more on commerce.
Themed “Living on the Edge”, the first edition of the Lagos Biennial of contemporary art is scheduled to hold from the 14th October to 22nd December 2017 in six different venues across Nigeria’s metropolis. The artist-run biennial will attract over 40 international artists from 20 countries including France, Iran, Mozambique, Kenya, Norway, Afghanistan, Germany, Switzerland, South Korea, Ethiopia, Angola, Senegal, Greece, United Kingdom, Sweden, Ghana, Spain, Egypt, Russia, and Nigeria.
The biennial will be curated by an international team consisting of Amira Paree, a Paris-based Egyptian/Dutch artist, Perpetuum Mobilε, a curatorial platform co-directed by Ivor Stodolsky and Marita Muukkonen which brings together art, engaged practice and enquiry, and Folakunle Oshun as Artistic Director. An academic conference, to be held at the University of Lagos, will accompany the biennial, co-ordinated by Erin Rice, a doctoral candidate at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany, along with Akor Opaluwah, a doctoral researcher at Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom. The film programme of the Lagos Biennial will be held at The Old Film Unit of the Nigeria Film Corporation in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Through Lagos Biennial, Akete Art Foundation will join in ongoing activities positioning Lagos on the map as a major art capital on the African continent. Given the immense talent generated by its contemporary artistic energy, its illustrious history, its burgeoning population and economic clout, such a major international event is just waiting to happen. “Lagos should be a hub for critical thought and international artistic exchanges. The city should embody a more globalized approach to the subject of art and should not just be driven by Afrocentric ideologies but rather it should embrace the unifying simplicity of the human experience,” says Oshun.
The theme of the biennial “Living on the Edge”, which coincidentally was also the title of the exhibition by the Mozambican artist Mario Macilau in 2012, will interrogate the experiences of contemporary artists in and around crisis situations. The theme also hopes to explore contemporary realities of the thematic interpretations opened up by the works to be exhibited, pushing the idea of “the edge” to its broadest geographical and psychological limits.
The Akete Art Foundation is a not-for-profit cultural organization with the main objective of promoting contemporary art in Nigeria through the staging of the Lagos Biennial once in two years.