Central Africa

Lagos Biennial 2024: A Return of the Much Anticipated Art Event

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The Lagos Biennial has announced the details for its event, marking its return this February with an astounding line up of programs.

Ekpiri by Adeniyi Ollagunju. LB2017.
Image courtesy of Lagos Biennial.

After three editions in 2017, 2019 and 2021 respectively, Lagos Biennial will once again congregate art-hungry crowds for this prestigious event in Lagos. The much anticipated 2024 edition of the Lagos Biennial takes place from 3 to 10 February, in the heart of Lagos on the grounds of Tafawa Balewa Square, a site named in honour of the first Nigerian Prime Minister. The Biennial is set to occupy this historical space, linked to entertainment in the colonial period as a racecourse and to political, cultural and commercial events after Independence, in order to reflect on its meanings in relation to political allegiance, territory, sovereignty, regionality, notions of belonging, encounter, and alliance.

It directs the cursor away from traditional histories of ‘universal’ exhibitions and biennials, exploring unconventional approaches to exhibition curation. This shift moves beyond the notion of the artwork as a final product, focusing instead on generative models and prototypes that continually spark possibilities in the world.

hFactor collective curated ‘Wasteland’ for the Lagos Biennial in 2019.
Image courtesy of Lagos Biennial.

Themed REFUGE, Lagos Biennial 2024 addresses the concept of the nation-state and critically reflects on the site of the exhibition, Tafawa Balewa Square, the venue of Nigerian independence celebrations in 1960, and also a key venue of the Festival of Black Arts and Culture FESTAC ’77, notably hosting a concert of the great musician an activist Miriam Makeba. The important legacy of FESTAC is seen in its ambition to create a planetary-scale project that celebrates and promotes African cultures of the continent and its diasporas. Also important as a point of reference is the 6th Pan African Congress in 1974 in Dar es Salaam, the first of the series to take place on the African continent. How can this cultural inheritance be reimagined in Lagos fifty years later?

The Lagos Biennial 2024 will embody 4 features.

REFUGE teams
A series of autonomous platforms responding in different ways to the theme of REFUGE, produced by multidisciplinary teams who took part in the online third edition of the biennial in 2021 (an open call process with a jury composed of Kunle Adeyemi, N’Goné Fall, and Kathryn Weir).

Gregarious architectures
Special projects and existing works by artists speaking to the theme of REFUGE, the site of Tafawa Balewa Square and notions of informality in building new architectures of community.

CAPTCHA
An exhibition project curated by Egyptian art historian, curator, and educator Sarah Rifky and Lagos Biennial co-artistic director Kathryn Weir, reflects on regimes of seeing and strategies of taking refuge in plain sight.

Worldmade communities
A convening for participants with a stake in cultural infrastructure that builds capacity and alliances across Africa and elsewhere. Aspiring to reclaim and celebrate contemporary art as a community and worldbuilding practice, the programme is curated by Sarah Rifky and Kathryn Weir with an intervention by Romi Crawford and the New Art School Modality.

Author

Bardi Osobuanomola Catherine is a budding storyteller. Her academic credentials include a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Benin. She has contributed to numerous Art publications across Africa. She is currently a Writer for Art News Africa.

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