Workshop in Lagos, Nigeria / October 2018

Cassandra Klos, Mars On Earth, 2015

The fifth research workshop Fast Forward2: Women in Photographyfunded with The Leverhulme Trust International Network Grant, took place at African Art Foundation on October 28-29, 2018, organised by LagosPhoto Festival and its Assistant Director and Curator Charlotte Langhorst.

Presentations and open discussion took place over the two-day workshop around ideas and themes concerned with the work and position of women photographers today. The summaries of presentations (part one) are below.

 

Presentations

ADENRELE SONARIWO

Director / Founder, Rele Gallery (Nigeria)

The Challenges of Promoting Art Photography in Nigeria

Adenrele Sonariwo introduced the history of Rele Gallery, a contemporary art space, which has been going for 3yrs and 9 months holding six exhibitions per year. Their desire was to nurture creatives, particularly young artists, and public engagement in the visual arts. Young Contemporaries is one of their key exhibitions encouraging younger artists to gain a critical voice and approach to making work.  Dandelion Eghosa, one of the young contemporaries, deals with sexual orientation in Nigeria offering a fresh perspective on her immediate lesbian community, an incredibly challenging subject in this environment.

One of the other exhibitions, Herstory, was curated to be in time with women’s day and concentrated on exposing hidden issues from women’s points of view. One of the of the artists, Kingi Kingibe –deals with the survivors of Boko Haram looking at how women and girls are rising above the incredibly difficult experiences of their time. The gallery also holds solo shows foregrounded the stories of artists from Nigeria.

Sonariwo spoke as well about the challenges of promoting photography in Nigeria. Production is the first challenge it is expensive and they need to look for alternative ways – there is no market to sell photographs here. Production can also throw up other problems such as hoe to frame and print economically and well. Engagement is also an issue – gallery goers are already alert to the value of photography but also there is a lack of understanding of the value of photography in the sense that people think that photography is easy and that they could do the same themselves. There is not really a market for selling photographs here and the international photography press seem to showcase the work more often than the national press.

Adenrele Sonariwo is an award-winning curator, founder of Rele Art Gallery and Rele Art Foundation.
She holds a Masters of Fine Art – Academy of Art University San Francisco, CA, a Curating Contemporary Art Certificate – University of the Arts, London and a B.A. Business Administration/Accounting (Honors) Howard University, Washington, DC. She has curated and over seen several commercially and critically successful high profile art exhibitions ; exhibitions that challenge the boundaries of art, engaging innovative subjects and techniques. She has also led the movement to break art out of ivory tower, with Rele gallery exploring and partnering with fields of technology, community social causes & health.  She was the first person to curate an art exhibition at Nigeria’s seat of power, The Presidency (Abuja) and has been featured in global publications such as the Financial Times, The Art Review, Forbes Africa, and Vogue. In 2016, she won the Future Awards Africa Prize for Arts and Culture. In 2017, she curated the first ever Nigerian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In 2018, she was selected as a member of the jury for the 13th edition of the Dakar Biennale. (Link. )

ALICIA KNOCK

Curator, The Centre Pompidou (France)

Curating contemporary art at the Centre Pompidou.

Alicia Knock will share her recent involvement in the shift towards a more consistent endeavor towards Africa and Central Europe in the museum. She will elaborate on that ongoing -and still growing- approach, mainly focusing on history and on the blurring of a merely geographic perspective (either continental or national). She will  stress the close links between the acquisition strategy and the exhibition program she tries to implement, aiming at rooting non-Western works into an inclusive history that challenges the Western modernist paradigm, still widely dominant in the collection.

Slide from Knock’s presentation

Curator at the Centre Pompidou in the Contemporary art and Prospective Department created and run by Christine Macel, Alicia Knock works at expanding the museum towards Africa and Central Europe, through acquisitions and both thematical and historical exhibitions. In charge of recent Duchamp Prize exhibitions (Kader Attia, Yto Barrada, Ulla von Brandenburg and Barthélémy Toguo, 2016; “The most foreign country”, women artists from the Duchamp Prize, Fondation Fernet Branca, 2017; Maja Bajevic, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Charlotte Moth, Vittorio Santoro, 2017), she is also involved in the new project space of the Pompidou, Galerie 0, aiming at becoming a laboratory for new practices. For the opening show of this new space (Museum On/Off, 2016), she invited artists and curators to take over the space in order to promote the museum as an experience. Installations by Otobong Nkanga, Meschac Gaba, Ahmet Ogut and Arseny Zhilaev provided the setting for constantly evolving fictions. The museum became a place not for conservation but production, reproduction and interpretation. In her curatorial practice, Alicia Knock therefore tries to explore new exhibition format, questioning the museum itself through multidisciplinary projects such as the mixed media retrospective dedicated to the filmmaker Harmony Korine she curated in 2017.

PAPA OMOTAYO

Founder, Whitespace Creative Agency and Creative Director of MOE+ Art Architecture (Nigeria)

Papa Omotayo is an award winning, architect, designer, writer and film maker. Papa’s work strongly focuses on creating work that explores the nature of culture and context within the contemporary Nigerian and extended African global condition. A strong believer in creating work through cross disciplinary collaboration and participation, he strives to find new possibilities for creating nuanced visual narratives in Nigeria (Africa’s) urban centres and beyond. He is the founder of A Whitespace Creative Agency and Creative Director of MOE+ Art Architecture. He currently lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria. Papa Omotayo has won various awards including the Best New Director at ‘OMI’ Fashion Film Festival (Milan, Italy, 2016) and the Best Curator at ‘Nigeria Expo’ International Fashion Showcase (London, UK, 2015).

Imag by Olayinka Babalola

SANDRA OBIAGO

Art Collector, Curator, Photographer, Filmmaker (Nigeria)

What a difference An image can make…

“What a difference an image can make – I have used photography for the past 30 years to tell stories that i hope will move people to action. Whether doing photo journalism in Sub-Saharan Africa, or working on a campaign against harmful traditional practices, or showcasing the amazing art of young artists, photographs are able to move our senses, memory and mood beyond all the rhetoric.”

Obiago showed her own photographic practice beginning with a project concerned with FGM where she looked to draw on stories with social impact. Throughout her career she has keenly wanted to know how to make a difference. Sandra worked with The  Performance Studio Workshop to document women who undertake FGM and the film went out on Nigerian TV at prime time.

Obiago spoke passionately about pout treating both audience and subjects with respect –  she talked about how to involve people and develop movements towards change. Obiago talked extensively about innovative methods of reaching new audiences, about the significance of making links to the past and that histories need to be known and connections have to be made. Obiago has consistently tried to get her films into public spaces including projecting them on the screens on long distance buses and revolving shows in non-gallery spaces. She now regularly works with one boutique to curate exhibitions in their shop space.

Slide from Obiago’s presentation

Sandra Mbanefo Obiago is an art collector & curator, photographer, and award winning filmmaker. She founded and runs SMO Contemporary Art which promotes the best of African creativity through exhibitions and events in non-traditional gallery spaces. She is a social activist and her campaigns, films, radio programs and publications focused on art, human rights, women’s empowerment, health, environment, democracy and good governance.  She has organized conferences for Nigeria’s film industry. She received a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba, Canada (1985) and an M.A. in Telecommunications from Michigan State University, USA (1988). After graduating she worked as a technical director for Limelight Studios and television producer for the European Business Channel in Zurich, Switzerland, before heading the communications program in Sub-Saharan Africa for environmental group, WWF International. She founded and ran Communicating for Change, a media-for-development social enterprise in Nigeria. Obiago produced and directed many documentary films and was Associate Producer of the feature film, Half of A Yellow Sun, adapted from the award winning novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She has served as a board member of the American International School of Lagos (AISL), trustee of the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI),  member of the Advisory Council of the Nigerian National Film Institute, and advisory board member of the iREP Foundation.  She has taught Sunday school since her teens and is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s African Leadership Initiative for West Africa (ALIWA).  She is happily married with three children.

YAGAZIE EMEZI

Photographer, Aba (Nigeria)

Carving a Path – Navigating Visual Storytelling as an African Woman

Emezi talked about how she built her documentary photography career first in Lagos and then in Liberia discussing the problems about getting connected to the international photography world and how important it is for the West to dig deeper and look harder for African photographers. Working in Liberia helped her to develop her work within a small supportive community and get connected to the international fields of photography through social media. Emezi spoke about the value of social media for sharing important stories with the widest possible communities and also for sharing opportunities. She also mentioned that promoters of opportunities in the West need to look further afield when they promote their commissions, competitions and exhibitions. She pointed to Women Photograph and Diversity platforms (as well as Fast Forward) which we should all be looking at.

Emezi’s presentation was also concerned with her own work Re-learning Bodies, a documentary project about women and scars and the stories behind these scars. As well she has photographed the Liberian HiPco culture and the death of Quincy B a huge Liberian musician. The memorial service of Qunicy B was the biggest ever known in Liberia, it was vital to see the passion and love in the crowds at this service and understand that this film star had given the country hope so his death was a tragedy. The work was published in the New York Times. In more personal work she has dealt with subjects such as illegal fishing off the African coastline highlighting Sea Shepherd and national law enforcement and how Africans do care about their national resources. Emezi is now doing more stories in Nigeria and her main focus is on women and sexual identity. She also creates what she calls ‘conversation pieces’ such as one about the consumption of the male model which demands that we are more mindful about how we photograph people’s bodies and who these images are for. She is also working in fashion in Lagos trying to be more conscious of her own culture and made a series with Blisco foregrounding elements of Igbo culture that still exist (and some that are disappearing) wanting it to be very real, she showed a series that addressed same sex marriage, that still exists in Igbo culture. To make this series she worked with authentic Uli designs (created by a genuine Uli artist) that come out of Igbo culture.

Image by Yagazie Emezi

Yagazie Emezi is a self-taught documentary photographer from Aba, Nigeria. She began her journey in 2015 and has since been commissioned by Al-Jazeera, New York Times, Vogue, Newsweek, Inc. Magazine, TIME, The Guardian, Refinery29, Everyday Projects, and UNFPA. She has also been featured by British Journal of Photography, Huffington Post, Nieman Reports, Mashable, Feature Shoot, and Buzzfeed. In 2017, she was a participant of the World Press Photo Masterclass West Africa and is a contributor to Everyday Africa. After ten months in Monrovia, Liberia documenting the impact of education for girls in at-risk communities, Yagazie returned to her ongoing project Re-learning Bodies.

Re-learning Bodies, now in its second year was started in Nigeria and explores how trauma survivors with African communities, outside the narrative of violence and abuse, adapt to their new bodies while marking the absence of an effusive culture around body positivity as a noteworthy cultural phenomenon. 

Yagazie is a recipient of the 2018 inaugural Creative Bursary Award from Getty Images and was a selected participant for the 2018 New York Portfolio Review.  She is a current mentee of the Native/Everyday Projects Mentorship Program. She is currently travelling for work and is mostly based in Lagos, Nigeria.

STEFFI KLENZ

Artist, Reader in Photography, UCA Rochester (UK)

Steffi Klenz’ photographic practice has been consistently preoccupied with the built environment, critically exploring the notion of place and spatiality. In her talk she focused on her recent bodies of work Beun (2015-2016) and He only feels the black and white of it (2016) which uncover unexpected narratives and traces of history and trauma.  Both works challenge conventional conceptions of photographic representation in the documentary field, investigating themes of repetition in relation to the medium’s notion of seriality, particularly exploring ideas of the fragmented image.

Her works challenge the directness of traditional reportage as a methodology to represent traumatic environments and events, searching for a photographic language that visualises conflict without veering into sensationalism or succumbing to over-hyped curiosity or ‘conflict porn’.

Untitled from the series Beun, Steffi Klenz

Steffi Klenz’ work has been shown in group and solo  exhibitions  both  nationally  and  internationally at the FotoMuseum Antwerp, Los Angeles Centre for Digital Arts, The Phoenix Art Museum, The Fine Art Museum Luleå (Sweden), The Finish Museum of Photography, The SeaCity Museum in Southampton, The New Art Museum Walsall, Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin and Museum Künstlerkolonie in Darmstadt (Germany) to name a few. She participated in the British Council exhibition “Gestures of Resistance” as part of the fringe program of Documenta Athens in April 2017 and the recent international group-exhibition “Powerful Tides: 400 years of Chatham and the Sea” at the Historic Dockyard Museum in Chatham, UK in 2018.Her work has been discussed in numerous magazines such as Art Monthly, Art Review, Art World China, Elephant Magazine, The Architectural Review, Photographies, History of Photography Journal, Portfolio Magazine and HotShow to name a few.

Her work has been reviewed in Chris Townsend’s “New Art from London”, Thames & Hudson (2006), Judith Rugg’s “Spatialities: The Geographies of Art and Architecture” by Intellect Publishing (2012), Robert Shore’s “Post-Photography: The Artist with a Camera”, by Laurence King Publishing (2014), Imogen Racz’ “Art and Home: Comfort, Alienation and the Everyday” by I.B.Tauris (2015) and Robert Shore’s “Beg, Steal & Borrow: Artists against Originality” by Laurence King Publishing (2017). Klenz published her first book “Polo bound for Passaic” by Cornerhouse Publishing and Schaden Verlag in 2009 and her book “He only feels the black and white of it, Berlin Wall 14-07-1973” was published by Mörel Books in 2016. She is currently working on her next book “So to Speak” to be published by Mörel Books in winter 2018 and her monograph to be published by Kehrer Verlag in Germany in 2019.

She was commissioned to undertake the BBC East Tower Commission (2016-2017) in London and the Rights Of Passage Commission for the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. She recently completed the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Cultural Quarter Commission 2017-2018. 

Klenz is Reader in Photography at the School of Fine Art and Photography at the University for the Creative Arts in the UK and has a guest mentor role for the School of Fine Art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in Austria in 2018/2019.

TY BELLO

Artist (Nigeria)

The heart-driven photography career

A well-known singer and portrait photographer from Lagos, TY Bello started as part of a collective, formed at the Mali Photography Festival who set out to record life in Lagos. She spoke about the problems of making documentary work about terrible situations that nobody wants to look at and how audiences have become numb to such images. TY focussed on how beauty (in photography) can be used to tell the truth and how she has combined music and lyrics with photographic imagery with a view to creating a new perspective on difficult issues and attracting different audiences to consider these things.

Image by TY Bello

TY Bello is one of Nigeria’s most recognized artists.  She came to public attention in the early 2000s as a member of the music group Kush.  She has also built a reputation as one of Nigeria’s foremost photographers and is a member of the talented photography collective Depth of Field.  Her evocative portraits never fail to rouse strong emotions and have made her one of the most applauded and keenly sought after portrait photographers in the country. Indeed she has the unique distinction of having photographed three sitting Nigerian Presidents.

TY deploys the same creative gift to produce engaging yet timeless music.  She launched her successful debut solo album Greenland in 2005.  Its title track- Greenland and Ekundayo became instant hits and are now widely accepted household favorites.  The Future- her Nigerian jubilee tribute was released on the eve of the April 2011 general elections.  It became the awakening song for Nigerians as they Steered the fate of the nation with their votes. TY’s songs and her photography- which has been exhibited in Nigeria and around the world- have earned awards both at home and abroad.

EMMA LEWIS

Assistant Curator, Tate Modern (UK)

Emma Lewis gave a brief overview of her work at Tate, including exhibitions and research for the collection. How does the institution approach collecting? What are the strategies in place for collecting work by women photographers?

Emma Lewis is Assistant Curator, International Art at Tate Modern, where she curates exhibitions and displays and researches photography acquisitions for the international collection. She was assistant curator for the exhibition Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 and Modigliani; contributed catalogue essays for Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art and The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection, and is curator of the upcoming exhibition Dora Maar. Emma’s book ‘Understanding Photography’ – a look at image-making from the first photographic processes to the post-internet age – was published by Bloomsbury in 2017.

DNIELLE WU

Writer, Critic, Curator (USA)

Racial Melancholia in American Art

“I have recently been interested in art-making, film, and photography as a compensatory gesture that reveals an artist’s melancholia. On the separation between mourning and the more deeply pathological melancholia, Sigmund Freud wrote, “In mourning it is the world which has become poor and empty; in melancholia it is the ego itself.” While the current art market insists that images can #resist and empower, very seldom do we analyze how they act as placebo seeking to diagnose a complex psychological repression. I seek to present my writing on works like “Crazy Rich Asians” and Ana Mendieta, which are connected by their racial melancholia.”

Slide from Wu’s presentation

Danielle Wu is a writer, critic, and curator based in New York. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was also a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and recipient of the inaugural Arthur Greenberg Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship. She has contributed to ArtAsiaPacific, Filthy Dreams, i-D, and Hyperallergic, and unbag. www.daniellewu.com 

PATRICIA AZEVEDO

Artist / Curator of FIF/ Professor in the Visual Arts, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil)

Projeto NO OLHO DA RUA / In the eyes of streets (1995 – ongoing)

An experience of a collaboration between artists and young people who live on the streets of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Anchored to collaborative creation strategies, the work lies not only in photographs, audios and texts, but also in the processes and relationships stablished. An impressive collection, placing ourselves as proponents of a new way of producing and distributing artist goods, a way to operate that was converted into a way of watching.

Slide from Azevedo’s presentation

Patricia Azevedo, is a visual artist, graduated in Philosophy from the Université Paris VIII, France, with a Master’s degree in Political Philosophy (“Art and Action in Leon Battista Alberti”) and PhD in Visual Arts (“Games of Distance and Proximity: the construction of dialogic space in performative art” with CAPES Award for research at The Warburg Institute-Archive and LADA-Live Art Development Agency, London, under the co-orientation of Dr. Kiff Bamford, UK) both at the University Federal of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil, where she teaches Photography and Performance in the Visual Arts Course. She develops collaborative projects in different media, investigating relations of language, territory and power, working in the public space of the city or the media itself, a work marked by the relationships that are established between people and the communicative act.

She participated in several exhibitions and residences in Brazil and abroad. She composes the curatorship team of the exhibitions of FIF BH – International Photography Festival of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She is from Recife, lives and works in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

AISHA AUGIE-KUTA

Photographer, Film Maker (Nigeria)

Augie-Kuta spoke about her career as a photographer and how that has led her to become a politician. She tried many sorts of photography and always loved to tell stories using images. For the past 3 years she has been working with the government. Influenced by both her father and a photography lecturer she started a photography group in the North of Nigeria. People kept telling her how she couldn’t be a photographer especially as she would have to get married and have children. After testing out an office career (moving swiftly into a high position) she ditched it Realising that in the North there were no women photographers she decided that she would be the woman photographer telling womens’ stories and started her photography career as a wedding photographer. After reading a book on photography for social change she embarked on taking photographs focussing on telling stories that would impact on her society. These were cultural stories telling tales about North Nigerian lives like the story of the Argungu international fishing festival that has not been able to happen in the last 10 years due to the lack of security in the region. Her main interest has been on how to change the situation and this is what has led her into politics where she still uses photography to provide the evidence of things that need to change. The images she makes today are used to lobby government and organisations in power to make change. Augie-Kuta documents the problems, takes the photographs to the people who are responsible for the changes needed and persuades them to do what is necessary. The photographs are solely for the Nigerian people and act as evidence of what has and has not been achieved.

Image by Olayinka Babalola

Aisha Augie-Kuta is a photographer, filmmaker and mixed media artist who lives and works in Northern Nigeria. Her work spans across photography, painting and documentary style films.  She uses juxtaposition in her work as her way of pushing the idea that there are always two sides of a story, coming from a background in photojournalism and mass communications. Aisha currently runs The Photo Cafe and is the founder of The Centre For Art and Creative Talent (CACT) in Abuja, Nigeria. She is the CEO of Meermaad Networks and also the Vice President of the Nigerian chapter of Women in Film and Television in Nigeria (Wifti). Aisha is a also a mother of three amazing boys.

 

JENEVIEVE AKEN

Photographer, Lagos (Nigeria)

I presented my three body of works “The Masked Woman” depict the issues in relation to feminism and representation such of the female body portray the solitary lifestyle of the much maligned “femme fatale” character, choosing to achieve pleasure and contentment through self-fulfilment that is not dictated by the subservient role as a house wife or defined through a man’s affection.

In “Monankim” which depicts feminine challenges directly related to the emotional and psychological effects of female circumcision and misrepresentation as sexual objects in a stigmatised traditional context.

In “Great expectations” I recreate Dicken’s famous novel in a contemporary African society by amplifying the somber reality of marriage through the representation of a disaffected and vulnerable bride who reflects on the substantially disappointing aspect to the highly placed institution of marriage in Nigeria.

The idea, for me, is to further explore these complex notions and create work that is reflective of society not just in Africa but also in Europe and beyond, because it is my belief that certain experiences and notions are universal.”

Slide from Aken’s presentation

Jenevieve Aken is a Nigerian photographer/ story-teller who focuses on social documentary photography, images and representation, and often adopts self-portraiture in her artistic practice. She explores personal experiences and contemporary social issues of identity, sexuality, gender and social roles. She has participated in the past three editions of LagosPhoto Festival (2012-2014-2016) and in the photography exchange program at the Neue Schule fur Fotographie in Berlin (2013). She has exhibited her works at the Ford Foundation in Nigeria (2014), Joburg Art Fair in South Africa (2014), Prisma Human Right Photo Contest in Venice (2015), Grid Cape Town Biennale in South Africa (2015), Rush Art gallery in New York (2016), Photovillenyc Festival in New York (2018), Daegu Photography Biennale in South Korea (2018). She has undertaken an artist residency Program at the Villa Lena foundation in Tuscany, Italy (in 2017) and a residency Program at National Museum of Modern And Contemporary Art Seoul, South Korea (2018). Aken Jenevieve lives and work in Lagos, Nigeria.

KAREN KNORR

Artist / Professor of Photography, UCA Farnham (UK)

Black Suns / The Work of Milagros de la Torre

Milagros de La Torre ( is a New York based artist working with photography since 1991 Her images involve critical research on the history and technical procedures of the photographic, and examine representations of trauma, its residual effect on the individual, and the structures of remembrance. She was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship (2011), The Dora Maar Fellowship from The Brown Foundation (2014), The Peter S. Reed Foundation Award in Photography (2016), was nominated for the Anonymous Was A Woman Award and was the recipient of a ‘Merited Person of Culture Award’ from the Ministry of Culture in Peru (2016). Karen Knorr will be presenting Milagros de La Torre’s s work as a contemporary approach to issues of violence and trauma . Karen Knorr will present and describe her use of  a form of conceptual and aesthetic photography that hints rather than shows literally the brutal effects of authoritarian governance that arose from her childhood experience in Lima Peru in the 1970’s .

Slide from Knorr’s presentation

Karen Knorr (USA / UK) was born in Germany and grew up in San Juan Puerto Rico in the 1960’s. She currently lives in London. She is Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts since 2010. Karen Knorr’s photography explores cultural heritage and its ideological underpinings. Questions concerning post colonialism and its relationship to aesthetics have permeated her photographic work since the 1980’s. Karen Knorr won the V International Photography Pilar Citoler Prize in 2010. She has been nominated for the Deutsche Börse in 2011 and 2012 and Prix Pictet in 2012. She exhibited her work Belgravia andGentlemen at Tate Britain in 2014- 2015 .She was recently awarded a Daiwa Foundation Grant to continue projects in Japan. Knorr exhibits her work globally and is included in collections including :Museum of London, Tate, Pompidou, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art , Folkwang Museum, Essen, Kyoto Museum of Modern Art. She is currently represented by Tasveer Art(Bangalore) Augusta Edwards(U.K.) Fille du Calvaire (France) Danziger Gallery(New York).

ETINOSA YVONNE OSAYIMWEN

Photographer, Benin (Nigeria)

Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwen is a self taught documentary photographer from Benin, Nigeria who focuses on underreported societal issues. In the last 1 year, Etinosa has leveraged on the immediate impact of photographs to shed light on issues and causes that she is passionate about. 

Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwen is one of the mentees for the Fast Forward mentorship program organised together with LagosPhoto and supported by British Council West Africa.

Image by Etinosa Yvonna Osayimwen

MALIKA DIAGANA

Artist (Senegal)

Born in Nouakchott (Mauritania), Malika lays claim to her multicultural heritage. Her Cape Verdian mother is a writer, her late Soninke father was a lawyer.  Her great-uncle Julien Lopez was among the early studio photographers of Saint Louis, and created the Studio Artista in the 1960s. After receiving her Bac, Malika came to Dakar to continue her profressional development.  While completing her studies in graphic design and beginning her studies in video production, she also gained mastery of theatrical lighting.  As a student in computer graphics, Malika had the good fortune to receive instruction from the photographer Djibril Sy, who inspired her with the love of photography and the desire to deepen her practice.  With the knowledge of how to use these different ways of “playing” with light and shadow, she pursued her career in graphic design while devoting as much time as she could to photography.

Malika Diagana is one of the mentees for the Fast Forward mentorship program organised together with LagosPhoto and supported by British Council West Africa.

Slide from Diagana’s presentation

SIERRA JENNEH NALLO

Photographer (Sierra Leone)

Sierra Jenneh Nallo is a Sierra Leonean and British photographer currently based in Ghana. Her passion for ethnographic studies, art (fashion, architecture, music, etc.) and travel are the main driving forces in her work. Thus far, her photography has captured the cultural authenticities and idiosyncrasies of her native Sierra Leone, in addition to Cuba, Ghana, Canada, America and Ivory Coast. The majority of her subjects are strangers who she encounters during her voyages. In her photographs, she strives to capture the subjects’ essence, to ignite a feeling of connectivity from the viewer; to see oneself in the image.

Sierra Jenneh Nallo is one of the mentees for the Fast Forward mentorship program organised together with LagosPhoto and supported by British Council West Africa.

Image by Sierra Jenneh Nallo

HEATHER AGYEPONG

Visual artist (UK)

Heather Agyepong is visual artist and performer who lives and works in London. Her practice is concerned with mental health and wellbeing, activism, the diaspora and the archive.  She uses both lens-based practices and performance with an aim to culminate a cathartic experience for both herself and the viewer. She uses the technique of re-imagination to engage with communities of interest and the self as a central focus within the image. Heather has worked within photographic & performance arts since 2009 with a range of works that have been published, performed and exhibited around the UK and internationally. She was commissioned to produce a visual response to Autograph ABP’s The Missing Chapter project in 2015 with her series Too Many Blackamoors. She has worked with organisations such as Tate, Photoworks, Dulwich Picture Gallery & V&A. Her project The Gaze on Agbogbloshie was also nominated for the Prix Pictet award in 2016 and for the Foam Paul Huf Award 2017. In 2016, she was selected as Mashable’s top 10 female photographers devoted to social justice. Her work is part the Autograph ABP collection. She studied a BSc Applied Psychology at the University of Kent and went on to complete a MA in Photography & Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths College where she was awarded the Kirsty MacColl 2014 Scholarship. She was recently been nominated for the 2018 South Bank Sky Arts Breakthrough Award.

Heather is one of the mentees for the Fast Forward mentorship program organised together with LagosPhoto and supported by British Council West Africa.

Image by Heather Agyepong

JOSEPHINE NGMINVIELU KUUIRE

Photographer (Ghana)

Josephine Ngminvielu Kuuire is a photographer and a digital artist living and practicing in Ghana. She got her bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Music from the University of Ghana in 2015. Upon returning to Ghana in 2009, she decided to continue her photography journey and worked as a freelance photographer while in the university. Josephine uses concept development and photo manipulations to tell her stories. She was awarded the Portraits Ghana Photography Prize in 2017 which was organized by the Embassy of Netherlands in Ghana and Nuku Studio. In 2018, her work was shortlisted as one of the top ten finalist in Ghana for the Kuenyehia Art Prize for Contemporary Ghanaian Arts Josephine is inspired by her everyday experiences and uses her work to interrogate established social systems within the Ghanaian context.

Josephine Ngminvielu Kuuirei s one of the mentees for the Fast Forward mentorship program organised together with LagosPhoto and supported by British Council West Africa.

Josephine Ngminvielu Kuuire

AMANDA JANE WHITTLE

Photographer (UK)

Born in Cape Town, South Africa 1970. A former international ballet dancer and a make up artist. Amanda studied as a mature student for her Photography MFA at UCA Farnham, graduating in 2017 with a distinction. She has shown her work in China, India and the UK. Amanda is currently engaged as an Artist in Residence at UCA Farnham for the second year. Amanda explores the ideas of sex, gender and mental health issues within the LGBTQI community. Amanda draws on her identity and past history of living in Africa and as a former ballet dancer. She aims to question the identity norms that society creates and that we do not all conform to, looking at and celebrating how we strive to exist outside of these claustrophobic social constructs.

Amanda Jane Whittle is one of the mentees for the Fast Forward mentorship program organised together with LagosPhoto and supported by British Council West Africa.

Image by Amanda Jane Whittle

NNEKA IWUNNA EZEMEZUE

Artist (Nigeria)

Nneka Iwunna Ezemezue is a visual story teller living and working in Lagos, Nigeria. She explores social issues such as gender, tradition, religion and environment. Her work has been exhibited at the Crossing Compasses, David Dale Gallery, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Scotland (TNI.ACP), Goethe Institute Cultural Heritage Photography Master class, The Nlele Institute (TNI.ACP) Lagos Open Range and Canon Photo storytelling. Her work has been published in Dienacht magazine and featured in Journ Africa, British Journal of Photography and The Guardian. She is a Magnum Foundation Fund 2017 grantee, nominated for Joop Swart Masterclass 2018 and shortlisted for the Contemporary African Photography prize 2018.

Nneka Iwunna Ezemezue is one of the mentees for the Fast Forward mentorship program organised together with LagosPhoto and supported by British Council West Africa.

Image by Nneka Iwunna Ezemezue

CHARLOTTE YONGA

Photographer (Cameroon)

Born in 1985 in Paris of a French mother and a Cameroonian father, Charlotte Yonga graduated from the National School of Arts of Paris-Cergy. During her studies, she develops a particular attraction for portraiture which allows her to put the human at the center of her questionings and to explore the projections and the representation of identities. Interested in the issues related to North-South cross-gazing and the notion of individuality subject to relocation, Her work aims to document new faces of ordinary people and highlight their complexities.

Charlotte Yonga is one of the mentees for the Fast Forward mentorship program organised together with LagosPhoto and supported by British Council West Africa.

Image by Charlotte Yonga

The other participants of the workshop who haven't presented but fully contributed to the discussions:

SOHAIL AKBAR

Associate Professor, AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia (India)

An avid Practitioner and Teacher of Still Photography Sohail Akbar’s association with photography goes back more than two decades when he was a student at Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia. He has taught photography to MA Mass Communication students and designed the Post Graduate Diploma course here. Apart from development of photography teaching here in Jamia Millia Islamia the National Open Schooling system has used his expertise in designing their curriculum for the 10 + 2 course which is taught country wide.

Along with teaching photography Sohail Akbar is also a practitioner Film maker, Still photographer and Photography researcher. He has made a series of documentary/educational films on topics as diverse as biotechnology, victims of conflict and issues around the transgender people. His still photography work has featured for international organisations like United Nations, World Bank and publications like the Financial Times of London and Little Brown, England. Two solo exhibitions have been mounted by him, the last being in April 2011 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The family photo album is the area of research interest to him and he has been exploring it in his writing and documentation work.

GABRIELA SÁNCHEZ Y SÁNCHEZ DE LA BARQUERA

Designer (Mexico / The Netherlands)

Gabriela Sánchez y Sánchez de la Barquera is a Mexican-Dutch designer. She was born and raised in Mexico City and is a graduate from The Design Academy Eindhoven, city where she lives since 2005. GSYSB creates storytelling through textiles and drawings. She has built an equilibrium between colourful patterns and intriguing dark illustrations; a balance between sensitive stories and confronting statements.

GSYSB gives lectures and workshops about identity, branding, handwriting and  communication. Gabriela Sánchez y Sánchez de la Barquera is Head of Creative Projects and Senior Print Designer at Vlisco. www.gsysb.com/about/

SUSAN COLLINS

Artist / Professor of Fine Art, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL (UK)

Susan Collins works across public, gallery and online spaces employing transmission, networking and time as primary materials. Most of her work is made in response to specific sites and situations. Key works include the BAFTA nominated Tate in Space, Tate Online (2002); Transporting Skies (2002) which transported sky (and other phenomena) live between Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance in Cornwall and Site Gallery Sheffield in Yorkshire; Fenlandia (2004) and Glenlandia (2005) – live year long pixel by pixel internet transmissions from remote landscapes; Seascape (2009) a solo show for the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea and short films including Love Brid (2009) for Animate Projects’ ‘Coastcards’ and Wild Life (2016) for Tintype Gallery’s ‘Essex Road III’.

Public commissions include Underglow (2005-6), a network of illuminated drains for the Corporation of London and Brighter Later (2013), a site specific light installation for the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford driven by live weather data. Recent works include Wembury & Woolacombe (2015), commissioned by the RAMM, Exeter in association with the National Trust, and LAND (2017), a live transmission from Jerusalem looking across the West Bank towards the Jordanian mountains. Susan Collins is Slade Professor at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL where she established the Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art (SCEMFA) in 1995. www.susan-collins.net

ANNA FOX

Artist / Professor of Photography, UCA Farnham (UK)

Anna Fox is an acclaimed British photographer and Professor of Photography at University for the Creative Arts. Working in colour, Fox first gained attention for Work Stations(1988), a study of office culture in Thatcher’s Britain. She is best known for Zwarte Piet (1993-8), a series of portraits exploring Dutch black-face’ folk traditions. Other projects The Village (1992), a multi-media installation examines the experiences of rural women, and Friendly Fire, records paint-balling in war reportage style. Her publications includeCockroach Diary and My Mother’s Cupboards (2000), Anna Fox Photographs 1983 – 2007, published by Photoworks. Fox’s solo shows include Photographer’s Gallery, London, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago amongst others. Her work has been in international group shows including Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant Garde at Tate Liverpool and How We Are: Photographing Britain at Tate Britain. She was shortlisted for the 2010 Deutsche Borse Prize. Fox has been awarded grants from UKIERI and PMI2 for collaborative work in India and in 2015 was lead organizer for the Fast Forward conference at Tate Modern. In  2016 she was awarded an International Network grant from the Leverhulme Foundation for the Fast Forward 2 project concerned with raising the profile of women in photography.  www.annafox.co.uk

MARIA KAPAJEVA

Artist, Lecturer and Network Facilitator for Fast Forward, UCA Farnham (UK / Estonia)

Maria Kapajeva is an Estonian artist who is based in London. This year Kapajeva won the Runner-Up Award at FOKUS Video Art Festival, Denmark and her first artist book is shortlisted for Aperture Photobook Award and will be presented at Paris Photo this November. In 2016 she got a Gasworks & Triangle Network Fellowship to work at Kooshk Residency in Tehran. Her work was internationally exhibited including the most recent: RIBOCA Biennial (Latvia, 2018), Kaunas Photography Gallery (Lithuania, 2018), Narva Art Residency (Estonia, 2017), WOAK Gallery (Poland, 2017), Detroit Oloman Gallery (USA, 2017). Her video works participated at Luminocity Festival (Canada, 2018), NexT Film Festival (Romania, 2017) and Berlin Feminist Film Week (2016). Kapajeva teaches at the University for the Creative Arts (UK).  Maria is a co-organiser of Fast Forward: Women in Photography and works as the Network Facilitator for The Fast Forward 2 project, supported by The Leverhulme Trust. www.mariakapajeva.com

CHARLOTTE LANGHORST

Assistant Director and Curator, African Artists’ Foundation (Nigeria)

Charlotte Langhorst, Dr., is a German freelance art historian who studied Art History, European Ethnology and History in Berlin, Paris and Kiel. Whilst being based in West Africa for more than five years, she held the positions of a research assistant at the University of Ghana and at the Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development in Cairo, Egypt. Currently she works as an affiliated researcher at the University of Lagos.Charlotte Langhorst is the co-author of an anthology on African architecture coming out this Christmas. Her research interests include the architectural heritage of the Tropical Modernism as well as Visual Studies.

ANNI WALLENIUS

Chief Curator, Collections, The Finnish Museum of Photography (Finland)

Anni Wallenius works as Chief Collections Curator at the Finnish Museum of Photography. At her work she is responsible for planning and developing museum’s work on its collections, including methods, tools and processes of collections management, collecting initiatives and curating exhibitions. As national specialized museum of photography her institution is interested in collecting and documenting all aspects of different photographic cultures ranging from photographic art to visual social media. The collection includes more than 2 million images (www.valokuvataiteenmuseo.fi/en/collections ). She is part of the Nordic Research project, Collecting Social Photography, which studies vernacular social media photography as cultural heritage (collectingsocialphoto.nordiskamuseet.se/ ). She holds MA in Art History and is a member of co-ordination group of Finnish National network for collections management co-operation and present day documentation (TAKO).