The LagosPhoto Festival is one of the many arty shows I look forward to attending every year. From my earliest encounter with the festival in 2011, the organisers–made up of Nigerians and expatriates–won me over with their finesse, purposefulness and attention to detail. From the media briefing right up to the gala and grand opening days later, I was pleased to see a festival that aimed to showcase Nigeria in its raw and ravishing state through photography.
And because I am a travel journalist with a bias for the arts, I was sold on the concept immediately. I recall viewing the first ever amateur photography exhibition, which was part of the 2011 show. Following from that evening, waka-about featured the winning entry on its November 2011 cover.
LagosPhoto 2015 opens to the public at 6pm on Saturday October 24th at its traditional venue, Eko Hotel & Suites (Escalator Entrance/ Exhibition Hall), Victoria Island and runs till November 27th.
I am delighted to see that the festival has grown in scale and substance over the past few year, featuring the works of a staggering 35 photographers from 17 countries (from Benin Republic to Belgium), all of them with their unique approaches to their craft, which is evident from the lagosphoto instagram feed.
From three or fours venues in the past, this year’s edition will feature 14 ‘satellite’ venues altogether: Omenka Gallery, Africans Artists’ Foundation, Stranger Lagos, Goethe-Institut, White Space, Yaba Tech. Outdoor exhibitions in public spaces in Lagos include Muri Okunola Park, Falomo Roundabout (Ikoyi), Beko RansomeKuti Park (Anthony), Awojobi Park (Onike), Freedom Park, MKO Abiola Park (Ikeja) , Quintessence, and Dolphin Park (Ikoyi).
“Our sexennial is truly unique in the sense that we have a two-time past exhibitor and former artist-in-resident Cristina de Middel as our guest curator,” says Festival Director Azu Nwagbogu in a newsletter intro. “Cristina offers unique insight into the workings of the festival and her experience in creating images in the city will come to bare as she discharges her various duties.”
Nwagbogu is quick to add that there is more to the festival that the exhibition. “There are several other aspects to the corpus that is LagosPhoto. ‘How Long is Now’ our initiative to support and encourage Nigerian photographers through paid commission and mentorship to document aspects of our rapidly changing architectural landscape in the city. LagosPhoto Summer School and various workshops, artist talks and portfolio reviews — all free — will feature sessions facilitated by seasoned professionals.” By Pelu Awofeso