Dis Lagos Life, a photo exhibition, which opened to the public at the Wheatbaker, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Monday February 24th, will run through May 17th, 2020. The show, curated by SMO Contemporary Art, brings together fifty-eight honest, intimate and audacious photos of six talented artists: Amanda Iheme, Ayanfe Olarinde, Nelly Ating, Oluwamuyiwa Logo, Omoregie Osakpolor, and Somi Nwandu, who analyse, interrogate, and expose the enigmatic duality of the megacity, Lagos.
From photos of historical buildings to the daily struggles of transient communities to the effects of censorship on the minds of our youth, juxtaposed against the beautiful pattern and repetition of our organic and built environments, the exhibition, supported by Wheatbaker and Louis Guntrum Wines, touches on the complex pressures of life in Lagos while beckoning us to grapple more honestly, with what must change.
The exhibition also highlights curated quotes from six writers and thought leaders – Wana Udobang, Jareh Das, Kovie Evi-Parker, Sheila Chukwulozie, Roli Afinotan, and Adeoluwa Oluwajoba – whose reflective sentiments and analysis of Lagos provide a deeper appreciation of the exhibited images.
“Dis Lagos Life takes us on a journey through the streets and occurrences in Lagos. It pushes us out of our curated bubbles into the raw beauty and harsh realities of the city, forcing us to engage, discuss, speak out, and make change – even if just in our little corners.” said Nneoma Ilogu, the exhibition curator, and Manager at SMO Contemporary Art.
“Photography is, unfortunately, still an underrepresented medium in Nigerian art collections,” remarked Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, SMO’s Founder and Artistic Director. “Dis Lagos Life showcases powerful narratives which will heighten our socio-cultural awareness, while providing us with unforgettable images of a city which draws us into a whirlwind of energy, colour, and vibe at a critical time in our ever changing history.”
“As we enter a new decade, the Wheatbaker is delighted to continue providing our artists with an important platform for innovation and creativity through their powerful expressions in different media,” concluded Mosun Ogunbanjo, Director of the Wheatbaker, adding, “The exhibition perfectly encapsulates the contradictions and beauty of our Lagos.”
Curator of the exhibition, Nneoma Ilogu, said it was widely said that ‘the purpose of art is to interrogate and document life’. She said further, “When I first received the vision for this exhibition, I struggled, as I wasn’t quite sure the nature of my emotions towards Lagos. I found it difficult to encapsulate this enigmatic city with so much wealth, vibrancy, diversity, social engagement, chaos, injustice, and poverty.
“It became apparent that the solution lay in the process of trying to document the various facets of Dis Lagos Life, with fresh ideas, images, and narratives everyone was not necessarily familiar with. One thing I was certain of was the need to find the right artists whose works would speak volumes on the theme. Working in the creative industry for the past few years, I have been fortunate to meet a number of talented photographers, who captured and interrogated life in Lagos with audacious images.”
Dis Lagos Life offers a fresh perspective and interrogation of daily life in Lagos through the lens of six young dynamic artists, Amanda Iheme, Ayanfe Olarinde, Nelly Ating, Olamuniya Logo, Omoregie Osakpolor, and Somi Nwandu, who all have pertinent narratives about their experience and exposure to Lagos.
To complement these powerful images, quotes from five dynamic writers – Wana Udobang, Jareh Das, Kovie Evi-Parker, Roli Afinotan, and Adeoluwa Oluwajoba –have been juxtaposed against the photographs, adding a deeper dimension to the imagery, as each writer shares their sentiments and reflections of this enigmatic city.