A photo exhibition that seeks to establish a community for contemporary photography, providing a platform for the development of talents through mentoring, workshops and seminars holds soon in Lagos. Mary Ekah writes
Tagged “Lagos Photo Festival” and running for the third time this year, the photography exhibition aims to create a platform where aspiring photographers in Nigeria can express their talent through a photography competition.
Lagos Photo Festival, held annually with emerging photographers alongside established photographers showcasing their works, is the first international art festival of photography in Nigeria. Launched in October 2010, the exhibition is an initiative of the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF) as part of an on-going project designed to use art in public spaces as a medium to increase societal awareness.
The first edition of the photo exhibition featured several activities including workshops for children, classes for professional artists, art fairs and a series of indoor and outdoor exhibitions that ran simultaneously throughout the event. The festival commenced with a month-long indoor exhibition at the Eko Hotel and Suites, with over one thousand guests in attendance on the opening night as well as outdoor exhibitions citywide. The second edition held in 2011 had the theme, “What’s Next Africa – The Hidden Stories”.
This year’s edition which kicks off in October is titled, “Seven Days in the Life of Lagos” is featuring 21 local and international photographers. It aims to explore and capture the very essence of the bustling city. The energy and soul that make the city such a unique place, captured by the most talented photographers working today, is the challenge ahead for this particular edition of the Lagos Photo Exhibition.
“Lagos is the creative and business hub of Nigeria, arguably even Africa, an urban megapolis with a high population density. The rate of change in the city is also rapidly evolving with improvements struggling to keep pace with the restlessness and innovation of the people,” the organisers noted in a statement.
“Through our numerous collaborations, Lagos Photo continues to provide a platform for the development of photographic talent through mentoring, workshops and seminars. As one of the most respected photographers in the photo world, Stanley Greene, 2012’s artistic director, has a reputation for representing the world’s stories in the most visually stunning style combined with the philosophy of using photography to bear witness to the eternal struggle for social justice and human rights,” the statement added.
Artists therefore are encouraged to capture the city in their own unique visual language as the images, according to the organizers, will lead to a book publication, “Lagos: Entropy Unchecked” to be published after the festival.
Sponsored by telecommunications company, Etisalat, this year’s photo festival will utilise multiple web-based platforms and social media such as Twitter, Facebook and the Lagos Photo Festival’s website to reach a larger audience, making it easier for the public to follow and to be a part of the activities of the festival.
Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Nigeria Mr. Steven Evans during a press briefing in Lagos recently on the forthcoming photo exhibition said the company appreciates the need and importance of creating partnerships that bring new and exciting content to the market they operate in.
”We are pleased to be a part of this important project which is an identification of the growing arts and culture industry in Nigeria, and with this we want to further assure Nigerians that we at Etisalat are committed to being a part of new and exciting concepts that celebrate the Nigerian essence as a whole,” he said.
The company’s head of high value, sponsorship and events, Ebi Atawodi, also said that the Etisalat brand is all about expression of attitude and creativity, adding that this will be exemplified through the competition. She said that as an innovative company, Etisalat would always remain at the forefront of creative initiatives that not only highlight the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria, but also its development.
The competition also seeks to unite local and international artists through images that summarise individual experience, identities and beliefs from across the world while it also promotes the nation’s cultural heritage as well as establish a community for contemporary photography, providing a platform for the development of photographic talent through mentoring, workshops and seminars.
The festival uses the power of photography to bring stories that address social issues in and around the country, as well as celebrating Lagos State, a melting pot for arts and culture in Nigeria. This year’s edition also aims at exploring and capturing the very essence of Lagos State, the energy and soul that make the city a unique place.
According to the organisers, the mechanics of the competition will be online based as participants will post their image entries on Twitter. Photographs can be captured either with a digital camera or through a mobile phone. Only entries sent on Twitter will be considered valid, the organizers say. The judging panel for the competition will comprise select members from the photography community as well as other creative individuals. Judges will choose the winning three photographs to be printed and featured at the Lagos Photo Festival grand opening ceremony.
The first prize winner of the competition will go home with N100,000 and a Galaxy Tab, while the second prize winner will receive N75,000, a Blackberry phone and a modem and the third prize winner walks away with N50,000 and an Etisalat Gaga Smartphone.
The 2012 festival, directed by Azu Nwagbogu, Caline Chagoury and Stanley Greene, will open with an indoor exhibition and grand opening ceremony on the October 13 at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, and will include other indoor venues throughout the city.
The outdoor exhibitions will open early at the Falomo roundabout, Muri Okunola Park, University of Lagos and the Oworonshoki-Alapere Median.