• Tolulope Sanusi

Recap: Lagos Biennial 2019

My experience at the Lagos Biennial exhibition. A maze of discovery and enlightenment with many installations - physical, Audio & Video of their experiences of being Nigerian at home and abroad, past and present.

Tafawa Balewa Square Lagos
Tafawa Balewa Square Lagos

The exhibition title - How to Build a Lagoon with Just a Bottle of Wine? was adapted from the poem, “A Song For Lagos” by the Nigerian writer Akeem Lasisi. The art installations were a response to the ongoing environmental and physical challenges and how the waterways and attributes that make lagos unique have shaped it over the years from colonial times to present.

“A trip through the mind of an artist in a quest for answers is always a journey of discovery, this was no different, the site only amplified the feeling”.

I've curated images and short clips of the exhibits I enjoyed with excerpts.

MOE Architecture Installation and Photos


Another stellar installation with a short video to give more depth. A particular scene with a fully adorned lady on a stallion riding through empty British streets stayed with me, we indeed should be proud of our heritage; no matter where we come from or where we are right now.

THE VENDORS by Nneka Ezemezue

A beautiful photo series best described by this except -

Nneka Ezemezue’s “The Vendors” is a brilliant documentary of “Free readers Association of Nigeria, men who hang-out at newsstands to peruse and debate newspaper articles and headlines.” These men are representative of the obliterated middle class who used to, but now unable to afford newspapers, gather at vendors’ newsstands to read for free or a nominal fee.


CONTAINER by Pedro Pires

A sculpture exhibit by Angolan artist Pedro Piers who assembled everyday objects; plastics, rubber boots and water Jerry cans and fashioned them to mimic the human form and height.

And lastly another star exhibit was . . .

A History of a City In a Box” by Ndidi Dike.

A city modelled with tools in trade of civil servants - Paper & Files. It's a very fascinating installation from every angle.

It was a chance discovery of colonial and post-colonial era documents at Independent House that led to the exhibition.

An excerpt below gives more insight into the installation.

The installation which on first look is a set piece of old filing boxes which must have contained detailed and confidential information. A piece of paper reveals a 1988 leave request and approval for a civil servant – Miss. R Okolie, Typist, Single and from Bendel state. Some of the files date from as far back as 1932 and there is a box marked PVs May: 88 1841 – 1930.
But look closer and the brilliance of the installation is revealed. It is in fact an aerial view of Lagos, with the boxes standing in as buildings and high rises approximating to the Lagos skyline as seen from above.

Overall a very enlightening journey, seeing different perspectives and mediums each saying something unique and important to the current urban situation.

Excepts culled from The Lagos Review: Lagos Biennial 2019

#Rubyspolroid #Photography #Exhibition #LagosBiennial #Art

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