By Yinka Olatunbosun
Cultural heritage begins at home. This explains why this year’s edition of the LagosPhoto festival promises to be unique for its home-grown digital content. Dubbed “LagosPhoto20 Rapid Response Restitution’’, the festival is set to be inclusive, not limited to professional artists and no age restriction. Curated by Dr. Oluwatoyin Sogbesan, LagosPhoto 2020 is a Home Museum project where all participants are to submit objects of virtue as a personal collection to the organisers.
Organised by the African Artists Foundation (AAF), the festival will only take place online with the aim of restoring lost memories and evoking interest in our shared history. At a recent press conference held online which had as moderator Wunika Mukan; the Founder and Director, African Artists’ Foundation, Azu Nwagbogu said that the concept of restitution has become a recurrent thematic focus of a lot of his project in the past two years.
“You don’t need to have a professional camera; you may use whatever device you have – a smartphone is fine. The idea is to “shine your eyes” on our homes as if they were museums. We invite you to take part in building this new virtual Home Museum,’’ he said.
As a member of the team behind the Curatorial Concept and Direction, Rapid Response Restitution, Nwagbogu explained that these objects of virtues are worth preserving because of their importance to the individual, family and home.
“Some treasures we use every day, some we keep, some we hold close, some we lose, and some are simply forgotten and not preserved at all. For example, a watch passed down from a father to his child, an Ibeji doll, a piece of woven cloth from our grandmother, an old photograph or newspaper cut-out, a souvenir from the last city we visited, the first mobile phone we owned, or a medal won at a sports competition. All these evoke memories and tell stories about our culture and history in ways we don’t always recognise,’’ he declared.
For Dr. Clementine Deliss, who is a historian and Associate curator at the KW Institute of Contemporary Art Berlin, recounted her experience during her visit to Nigeria in February and shared some of the pictures taken at the National Museum in Benin, Abeokuta and Ibadan as well as other private museums to prepare the minds of participants for the Home Museum Project.
Participants are required to send a minimum of six photographs and a maximum of twelve with full name, age, contact information, and a short description for each of these objects and why they are important to you and your family. The deadline for submission is July 31, 2020.