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A  large visual art offering is planned for the 25th edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival, scheduled for November 13 to 19, 2023

The longest running festival devoted to conversations around literature has always been a festival of the arts with a high book content.

This year’s edition s throws up the biggest visual showcase since the festival was born September 1999, to herald the return of Nigeria to democratic governance.

What is planned to be on view is also the most diverse of visual art disciplines at any edition of LABAF; ceramics, paintings, installation, cartoons, and performance arts.

LABAF’s annual visual arts dialogue will preface the six exhibition  projects on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. The discourse, which will be keynoted by the distinguished painter, Kolade Oshinowo,  will explore the relationship between artists and their collectors and patrons.  Curated by Ademola Azeez, Provost of the Federal College of Education, Yaba, Lagos, the session will have a keynote and a panel of eminent discussants. The working theme is: “Artists, where are your works?” The conversation is aimed at sensitizing artists to pay closer attention in tracking the movement of their artwork once it has left their studio into the hand of the collector. Essentially, it is to emphasise the importance of documentation in the practice of the artist.

Five of the six exhibition projects will open after the Visual Dialogue.

The exhibition list includes:

  • Conceptual: “Timeless Memories: Elastic Effects 2023 – The Man Who Didn’t Die in the Face of Tyranny” — an immersive experimental exhibition, which seeks to visually interpret the book, “The Man Died,” originally published in 1971. It is a continuation of the tribute series in honour of Africa’s illustrious man of letters and first Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka. In its 6th season at the LABAF, Timeless Memories… will feature a series of prison cell installations and symbolic representations designed to foreground the prison experience. Furthermore, 27 illustrations, printed on a unique toilet-paper-like material, will vividly depict the challenges the protagonist faced during his time in confinement. It is curated by Oludamola Adebowale of Asiri
  • Installation: BOARDING – a showcase of theJunkmanofAfrica’s uniquely conceived mix-match of themes and materials that captures human conditions through a probe into history and philosophical musings. Aside a huge installation to be mounted in the Foodcourt arena of the Freedom Park, a set of works will also grace a section of the Freedom Park Museum Gallery.
  • Ceramics: NOTICE, We are here? A group exhibition by the Visions in Clay Community of ceramic artists with the aim of projecting the current trajectory of the ceramic craft and “let more people notice we are here!” The participating artists use ceramic history, culture and traditions to bolster craft, experimentation, conceptual strategies, and relational approaches to materiality. Lending their voices to tell the stories lingering outside the public’s sight.” It is curated by Olubunmi Atere and Azeez Afeez Adeoti.
  • Cartoons: DRAWING ATTENTION An exhibition of editorial cartoons by the Cartoonists Association of Nigeria, CARTAN. 35 Cartoonists are participating in this rare showcase of commentaries on the state of the nation, especially the troubling political trajectory in the past 24 years of democracy. Featuring cartooning, comic animation and other communication art, the exhibition is also to draw attention to issues and matters of deep concern to the people.
  • Performance Art: I AM A FISH FROM THE SEA – by Jelili Olorunfunmi Atiku

Reading and walking through the minds of political leaders, analysing and knowing their philosophies, policies, ideas, and actions as they rule us are the indispensable responsibilities of the people. The performance employs techniques of walking and sensing where audiences engage in collective healing and renewed energy, strength and enthusiasm, connection and contemplating the qualities of political leaders”.

  • Performance: MAAMI DEY CHOP AKARA — performance by Olufela Omokeko; Curated by Yusuf Durodola:

         Inspired by the literary work of Ben Okri – Food, Ritual and Death;           

         and the utilisation of Beans Cake  “Akara” as a point of departure,     

         the performance shall invite audience into a sensorium journey

         through taste and smell; where the selection, peeling  baking, frying

         and eating are towards creating a visual epitaph of resistance and

         reset towards an egalitarian society void of greed, war, crimes and

         uncertainties.

*******

ABOUT LABAF 2023: The theme for the 2023 edition is THE RESET: History and the Darkling Plain, and it is designed to reflect on the various critical points in the history of Nigeria-and by extension the histories of rest of Africa and the world- through written texts and performances in drama, music, poetry and the visual arts etc. The essence is to mine those lessons in the political and cultural history of the nation to plot a progressive direction for its future, as we settle into, and navigate the constructs of a new political dispensation.                                      

ABOUT LABAF: LABAF commenced in 1999, the year of the nation’s return to civil rule. Though a literary feast of ideas and life in outlook, the festival has over the years, metamorphosed to being a Campaign for LITERACY devoted to heightening interest of the populace to be active participants in the knowledge economy that currently rules transactions in global political, economic and cultural affairs. The festival is focused on three thematic elements: EDUCATION. ENLIGHTENMENT. EMPOWERMENT.

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