Yinka Olatunbosun

A traveling adventure is underway as the Molue Mobile Museum of Contemporary Art makes its way to the 13th International Biennial Dak’Art Exhibition in Senegal this week. The take-off was on April 11 in Lagos. Titled, ‘Stretched Terrains’, this memorable journey, a second of its kind, is a project curated by a Nigerian artist based in Germany, Emeka Udemba in collaboration with the Goethe Institut, Nigeria with support from Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines.

It is an art residency programme for young artists from Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Germany that revolves around a six-week journey on the road in the Mobile Molue. The travelling artists will cross through Benin, Togo, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Mali and finally, arriving at Dakar in time for the Dak’art exhibition.

At every point of stop along their way to Senegal, these artists have the opportunity to meet and greet representatives of Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines and Goethe-Institut in various countries. The Molue that houses the artists and their works is a symbol of resilience. It is an old converted public transport bus on a legitimate ambitious journey of 10,000 km.

Highly experimental in nature, the traveling “art-venture’’ encourages cultural exchange and collaboration amongst participating artists and the public. The participating artists include Emeka Udemba, Gabriel Goller, Monsuru Alashe, Ray Claver Agbo, Souleymane Konate and Dame Diongue otherwise known as Bay Dam.

Some of the participating artists who speak French fluently will be human assets on this journey through these mostly francophone territories. On board this mobile museum is a collective made up of painters, photo artist, digital artist and they have art-related souvenirs for the host cultural communities.

With the social media hashtag Stretched Terrains, art enthusiasts can follow the artists and monitor their progress on the journey. To make the long journey pleasurable, the bus has been equipped with a television and a DVD player, mini-rechargeable fans, solar energy unit, gas cooker, cooking pots as well as adjustable seats.

As for Gabriel Goller who is visiting Nigeria for the first time, he is prepared on focusing on the good side of the journey.
“I am not thinking too much about what can go wrong on our way,’’ he responded while fielding questions from concerned journalists during a press conference that preceded the journey. The artists are expected back in Lagos on May 25.