Nii Obodai Rough Notes

Nigeria  Wordpress 2012 theme website but the gallery does not work.

 

Artist statement:

“My photography is the process of openly expressing what gives me the energy to remain sane and to visualize the art of life as I experience it.

My observation is that thought is image and vice versa. Thought is shaped by the mystery of now. When I create an image it’s not with a detached eye but with the reasoning that I am part observer, explorer, creator and messenger, with an artist’s inspiration from nature’s expression of being.

I desire to engage the past, traveling the places that create memory and thus to see a way into the future. I explore the zones between tradition, improvisation and modernity, documenting a New Africa. In this landscape of wonder, with its unlikely adeptness, cultures merge, positive traditions remain in contemporary living, faces of the Diaspora return home and spiritual stories are told not to be forgotten.

Having our thoughts come in the form of images, then what better method of communication than to use photography to express my imagination and allow for transformation. Going beyond the beyond. It‚s my way of exposing an exciting world where the least is more and beauty is undeniable. Finding and giving strength in simple ideas.

Spirit culture landscape earth music dance poetry space structure people infinity light. Cosmic tension and release. Healing.”

CV

Francis Nii Obodai Provencal
Photographer/Artist

Born in Accra, Ghana and has lived in England, Nigeria and Ghana, Francis Nii Obodai Provencal is at ease with the vast and diverse world of his continent. His work mainly explores the urban and rural, not with a detached eye, but with an artist’s careful watching, with a strong interest in history and a love of the stories that abound in his world.

Nii Obodai’s photographs are a conduit into a vibrant space. In his travels he discovers and explores the meaning of Farafina*. Here we merge into the zone between tradition, improvisation and modernity. We begin to feel the spirit of Farafina, with its adeptness where religions come together, traditions remain in contemporary living, faces of the Diaspora returned home and spiritual stories are told, from within a landscape of beauty. Nii Obodai is unafraid to challenge the common catch cries of what is accepted to be Africa – war, corruption, helplessness. We share his positive awareness of the daily lives of millions of normal people across the continent. In the images of Nii Obodai, the land of the Farafina is living poetry.

Nii Obodai is presently based in Ghana where he works and lives. He enjoys facilitating inspirational workshops on photography and continues to travel exploring and recording the vibrant essence of life. Nii Obodai has exhibited in Accra, Paris, Bristol, Den Haag, Amsterdam, Bamako.

Current Works:

Who Knows Tomorrow, a collaborative book project with Algerian-French photographer, Bruno Boudjelal.  This work is a poetic journey that explores the legacy of independence.

Liberation Of Soul, a work in progress of interviews and portraits of people in Africa exploring their vision for the future.  Liberation Of Soul is created with audio and photography.

Farafina Creates, a practical experience of design and construction with natural building resources.  This project explores the technologies and possibilities of rural potential. Farafina Creates also explores the relationship between architecture and landscape.  It’s in collaboration with Selassi Tettevie (artist/designer) and the Akplease Family of the Volta Region, Ghana. The Akplease’s are mud earth builders and forest-keepers.

Books:

Nii Kwei’s Day

Zetaheal

Recent Exhibitions:

Who Knows Tomorrow, April 2009, Alliance Francaise, Accra

Who Knows Tomorrow, June 2009, Centre Atlantique de la Photographie, Brest

Residencies:

The Cité Internationale des Arts, 2005, Paris

Clark Bursary, Watershed, 2007, Bristol

*Farafina – Bambara Language (mali) meaning “Land Of The Black Skin

Emeka Okerere Rough Notes

Nigeria  website

Much more voyeuristic and less engaged than eg Michael Tsegaye. Performance photography,

Artist’s statement

Emeka Okereke born in 1980 is a Nigerian photographer who lives and works between Africa and Europe, moving from one to the other on a frequent basis. He came in contact with photography in 2001. He is a member of Depth of Field (DOF) collective, a group made up of six Nigerian photographers.

Presently, his works oscillate between diverse mediums. He uses photography, poetry, video and collaborative projects to address issues pertinent to his convictions. His works deal mainly with the questions of co-existence (beyond the limitations of predefined spaces), otherness and self-discovery. Often times they are subtle references to the socio-political issues of our times.

Another aspect of his practise lies in project organising which artistic interventions to promote exchanges cutting across indigenous and international platforms.

To this effect he organized the first ever photographic exchange projects between a school in France and one in Nigeria involving the Fine Art School of Paris and Yaba College of Arts and Technology Lagos. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of “Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project” an annual photographic project which assembles up to ten artists from Africa towards a roadtrip across Africa. There has been three editions of the project since 2009. Through Emeka Okereke Photography & Projects, he co-ordinates projects based on exchanges. The most recent of these projects include: Crossing Compasses, Lagos-Berlin Photo Exchange (May – June 2012) and Converging Visions: Nigeria – Netherlands Photo Exchange (June – September 2012)

In 2003, he won the Best Young Photographer award from the AFAA “Afrique en Création” in the 5thedition of the Bamako Photo Festival of photography. He has a Bachelors/Masters degree from the National Fine Art School of Paris and has exhibited in biennales and art festivals in different cities of the world, notably Lagos, Bamako, Cape Town, London, Berlin, Bayreuth, Frankfurt, Nurnberg, Brussels, Johannesburg, New York, Washington, Barcelona, Seville, Madrid, Paris, etc. He has also won several awards both in Nigeria and Internationally.

Invisible borders: Trans-African Photography Project

In 2009, I founded a project which every year unites up to ten African artists – photographers, writers, film makers and art historians on a road trip across Africa in a bid to reflect on exchanges across geographical borders. The core concept of this project is deeply rooted in the philosophy of movement and the ardent need to transcend inflicted limitations, by creating a crossbreed of realities which in turn offers the possibility of an extension of oneself beyond predefinitions.

There has been four editions of the road trip project with journeys to Mali, Senegal, Ethiopia and Gabon – always departing from Lagos Nigeria.  I have taken part and coordinated all  four editions, travelling across over 15 countries in the process.

During the trips, my works consisted of images, writings and films which looks at the intricate interactions between people and their spaces as experienced in the Africa of today – that friction between people and space in the quest for existence and co-existence. Furthermore, these works testify to an Africa at the brink of a turning point, that point where the new is struggling its way out of the old…and we are the signs as well as symptoms.

Sao Tome

It is a small Island with only 180,000 inhabitants. Everything man-made seems to be engulfed by the freshness of nature. There are more trees and forests than people and due to this, the people have a unique relationship with nature. Food is abundant because the land and plants are far from barren. All year round the trees produce all kinds of fruits. It is an Island of immense greens. Where only the thought of the concept of selling “bio” foods at acutely exorbitant prices becomes immediately ridiculous.

In the way of material acquisition, we do not see much. The cityscape is plagued with old dilapidated building of obviously Portuguese architecture. One could tell that much has not been done in terms of an independent advancement since its independence from Portugal in 1975.

The buildings are chipping away with every passage of time, with no scheme towards preservation talk more of restoration – they just stand there obtrusively like phantoms of a colonial past, creating a picture of people meandering through “beautiful” shacks and rubbles. But all of this is perfectly cocooned every inch of the way, by the freshness and liveliness of the many plants.

Rituals Lagos 2001-2003

This project was one of the first body of works produced at the earlier stages of my carrer. It explores the relationship between body and light. These works won the Afrique en Creation Price at the 2003 Bamako festival of Photography.