For the Curated Projects component of the fourth edition of ART X Lagos, Artistic Director Tayo Ogunbiyi invites the participating artists and the public to pause and reflect on the inevitable intersections between art and life. She spoke with The Art Momentum a few weeks before the fair opened.
C. S : Can you tell us about the decisions that lead to defining the theme for ART X Lagos this year and how it will influence the various projects presented during the fair?
T. O : I am always talking with artists, curators, and patrons about their next destination or where they have recently been, what they have seen, and how our experiences can reorient our intrinsic value of home. This year’s theme responds to how visual art can direct our everyday experiences. It focuses on the lives of people dedicated to contemporary art, in one capacity or another. The life of the late Bisi Silva is a significant example, and is at the foundation of our artistic direction. As a whole, the theme aims to look at the ways in which visual art has given direction and clarity to the lives these trailblazers lead. It also considers the impact art can have on mainstream populations, those without any particular relationship to the arts. For this reason, there are projects that respond to shared human conditions and the impact that visual art can have in terms of documenting lived experiences and complicating the reception of the content documented.
C. S : ‘Art in Life | Life through Art’ sounds like an invitation to consider how art and life are intertwined. For example, ‘This is Lagos’ – a project showcasing the work of young photographers – illustrates how art can compel us to reflect on contemporary issues. Can you tell us more about this project?
T. O : Oftentimes, I think contemporary art is interpreted as art for art’s sake. Here, art stands on its own as visually pleasing, or as a demonstration of technical ability. ‘This is Lagos’ aims to highlight concerns about the impact of our lifestyle on our surroundings, using photographs by emerging photographers (Amanda Iheme, Ifebusola Shotunde and Nyancho NwaNri) and Augmented Reality to build connections between individual choices and collective responsibility. Our circumstances considered, the hope is to generate questions about the options we have, and the decisions we must take.
C. S : Since its inception, ART X Lagos has been a platform that seeks to promote contemporary art from Africa and foster public accessibility. From your perspective, how do the Curated Projects you are in charge of this year contribute towards this?
T. O : The Curated Projects aim to present compelling projects while considering an audience with varying degrees of exposure to contemporary art. The challenge is to avoid compromising the quality of the work for the sake of making it accessible. As an intermediary between the work and the audience, my hope is that the text accompanying these projects will help to facilitate diverse experiences for those who come to the fair. I strongly feel that each one of these projects is accessible to the individual who knows absolutely nothing about visual art, while those who have sincerely engaged with contemporary art will also find these projects compelling.
C. S : As an innovative artist and independent curator, what does the future of the contemporary art scene in Nigeria look like to you?
T. O : From what I have seen here, the future of contemporary art requires a lot of work on the part of artists, curators, critics, and patrons. I feel we are on the cusp of something sensational, but all stakeholders must continue to push forward to overcome the challenges of limited funding, a lack of suitable exhibition spaces, much needed human capacity within the sector, and an increased critical awareness of visual art. In considering these areas, the aim must not be that which we perceive to be working elsewhere. We must identify the models that work within our context, and consider our particular histories.
An article by Céline Seror
Featured Image : Emeka Ogboh, “Àlà”, 2014.
This article was written for The Art Momentum | ART X Lagos 2019 Artpaper. [French version inside]
Articles are published in their original language | Les articles sont publiés dans leur langue d’origine