Friday, 4 March 2016

Jogja Biennale XIII " Hacking Conflict" Indonesia meets Nigeria. November 2015 Trace:Transactional Aesthetics


Trace: Transactional Aesthetics


   
  













Dimensions:    574 cm x 155 cm   (width of shelf 12 inches )
Media:             C-print on photographic paper/collage, mixed media, culled objects from both markets
                      

The typical Nigerian open air market ignites the senses, there is an explosion of sights, sounds  and   and smells that overwhelm the viewer with the hectic blast of life and breakneck race against time to attract and interest everyone in sight. There is a strong sense of colour, synergy and vitality that is exuded by the activities and displays of the Lagos market place. This is epitomized in viewing of various products, textiles with customized designs to reflect local traditional cultures, secondhand clothes,jewelry, and edible consumables.

Food inherently has many dynamics at play including cultural, social economical, health beliefs and political undertones such as the production, control, regulation, inspection, distribution ,patents and ownership of seed companies etc , that we tend to forget when trading, buying and consumimg these products and commodities.  Issues of fairtrade, barcoding , regulatory incumberences attached to importation of foods affiliated with political ramifications are contenstable.One wonders how  international and  global food organisations and agencies will be able to come up with a sustainable food security policy for all, that is inclusive of nations in transition before 2025. All the commodities  at first glance appears to be in a seemingly chaotic state, but a second look reveals an aggressively ordered nature that serves as a fertile ground for exhibiting the aesthetically staged street market tableaus.

My project idea is centred in the regeneration and interpretation of the aura of the Lagos market in inspiring the sense and feel of its internal dynamics. To achieve this I intend to recreate a section of an open air Lagos market by adopting my own aesthetic techniques and installation methods to create an engaging experience. This will be done by employing the use of  lens based media, other mixed media materials and constructions that reflects and traces the histories of commodities between our two countries that moves back and forth within our cultural and commercial alliances and interrelations.

The inclusion of the historical  colonial and  symbolic tea  tray with all its accruements and associated delicacies (eg. little samples of  cloves, nutmeg, coffee and sugar from Indonesia, and palm oil, cotton, rubber, groundnut and cocoa from Nigeria)  into my installation. Serves  to reference our  shared colonial history  between Nigeria and Indonesia through our colonial bonds, that  speak of the unrelenting exploitation of our natural resources.

Tea as a subject is affected in both Nigerian and Indonesian cultures considering that the culture of tea drinking is not originally western but a transmuted culture that is modified and redefined then introduced in cultural orientation to other cultures that have their own history of brewing. What the idea of tea has become is now a linking factor in the aesthetics of trade by our cultures. This has a huge impact on the cultural change that comes with a history of colonization, and  shows how social constructs weigh in and impact on the things like food that is a prerequisite required for the development of human physiognomy.Thus the politics of consumption and trade have immense impact on internal and external relations of any society.

The project will include a  reference to the popular 'African' wax prints that in many ways epitomise the image of the African identity and at the same time has its roots in the Indonesian archipelago.
An overview of the installation would involve a large wide angled photographic image of a market scene serving as a backdrop upon which other ideas would be attached and integrated. There will be an adjoining shelf installed with  commodities alongside other products peculiar to Indonesia and Nigeria. I also hope to include architectural aspects to the installation that speaks about the impact of trade on a cities regeneration and urbanization process.

The Jogja audience are to engage in a participatory per formative experience by going through the market space and  children are particularly  invited to partake in the consumption of traditional indonesian snacks on display as they would if they were in the open air market space.. The participation is hoped to affect feeling of the audience and registering the aura in long term memory of them affecting a market space that is away from their own immediate and familiar environment.
This project signifies a socially interactive, collaborative visual  journey using various media and experiences that typify  Lagos and Jogja. It also highlights the potential to continually and consistently culturally enhance mutual understanding and cohesion between our countries and continents, through contemporary artistic  interventions  like this and  our re-assimilation of the areas that overlap in our relations and affect our daily lives at the same time.













Ndidi Dike 
Sculptor/Cultural Activist








A THOUSAND VOICES: Artists Residency Cameroon 2014


A THOUSAND VOICES

In 2012 and 2014 Les Palette du Kame organized an artistic intervention in the fishing communities of Limbe,Tiko and Idenau  in the South West area of Cameroon. The purpose of this intervention was to give breath to the fishing activity that is the main income of the people’s daily life,  build bridges, create awareness, peace and unity between Cameroonians’ and Nigerians, using site specific works and collaborations with the local people based on materials found in these locations.
This exploration and experimenting spanned numerous media. The interventions were broadly about belonging, identity with the land, individual validity and relation to current external influences of socio economic life in the fishing areas. There was also a focus on internalizing living experiences through appreciation of the fishing communities
Artist from Cameroon and Nigeria shared their ideas and worked on concepts during the one week residency in the identified communities. Limbe, Tiko and Idenau are in the resource rich Bakassi Peninsular located along the West African coast in the Gulf of Guinea or the Bight of Biafra.
Historically, it came into being under the British protectorate on 10/08/1884 following the infamous Berlin Conference of 1885 where the continent of Africa was carved up for the taking like a piece of cake to European imperialists.

Oil deposits were discovered centuries later, but it was always of strategic importance because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, and prolifically diverse marine resources.
The protracted territorial dispute almost led to war between Nigeria and Cameroon over the ownership of this valuable land, that was resolved at the International Court of Justice at the Hague. The final ruling in October 2002 ceded sovereignty of Bakassi Peninsular and the disputed area in Lake Chad to Cameroon.

Our artistic intervention started in Limbe formerly called Victoria, after Queen Victoria during the British rule in the region.  Located in the bay area of south west Cameroon, this place is home to the second largest port and  the famous Mount Cameroon a previously active volcano and black sandy beaches from past lava flows that has an exotic quality even if it acquired the quality through the intervention of nature. These are unadulterated contrast to the creamy ochre beaches in Nigeria. The sand here seemed scarred yet still retains the story of its experience, for people like us who would come years later to mull over the event and imagine the devastation of the place at that point in time. The darkness of the sand made everything else enhanced, giving them an accented quality and visual impression of the place, that would be lost on the otherwise bright creamy ochre gold beaches found along the West African coast.



Black  sandy beaches in Limbe

To get there, we travelled by road from the busy city center of Duala with all the regular clich├ęs of an African city to Limbe, coming from our metropolitan base,   the topography was a stunning sight to behold, there were naturally landscaped vegetation , undulating man-made landscapes full of acres and acres of sprawling  plantations as far as the eye could see.  The banana trees with the fruit wrapped in blue polythene bags to prevent insect infestation, rubber trees swaying to one side, palm fruit, cocoa, etc., with houses or settlements built for the workers , it was obvious to see that this was a well-funded,  fully organized part of Cameroons agro based economy for the  export  market. There were also the hills and valleys popping  and dimpled all over the landscape with a variety of  agro produce , only to be exceeded by the great Mount Cameroun , imposingly  sprawled in all its majesty,  watching over everything. Its peak was wafted by brushes of cotton wool like clouds in a hurried attempt to deny or maybe camouflage its height. We also learnt at this point that races are organized annually by locals and international visitors up the mountain for the exciting challenge of the terrain. We arrived in Limbe at dusk, it took us an hour and fifteen minutes as   we drove into   the valley surrounded by more greenery, vegetation, houses, storey buildings and bungalows, they were reminders( during my university education) for me of driving into Enugu  from ninth mile Nsukka via Miliken hill in the  in the mid-80s, so calm, quaint  and picturesque.  Limbe is also the center of the oil industry and home to the only state owned refinery Sonara, that refines crude oil and its derivatives, diesel, petrol, kerosene, bitumen, gas etc. The oil facilities such as the jack-up-rig, drilling platforms or deep water discovery rigs are unbelievably close to the fishing communities and inevitably contribute to environmental consequences and dwindling fish catches.





The three fishing communities were characteristically different and interesting. The closer knit community of Tiko had a central system that catered to the villagers in extension. The most striking thing about the communities was their ingenious material improvisations which ran through all the communities. It is a testament to enduring character in the face of an afterlife from the previous conflicts in the area. We found a lot of ingenious hand-woven artistry, and material implementation that spoke to the numerous found indigenous hangings that we would term installations as part and parcel of their lives.



It is very pertinent to note that a very significant aspect of the experience of the expedition was the people of these communities. The human nature and energies dispensed by the inhabitants from these areas are important in discerning the aura that is felt for a creative interaction in these locations. There is the impression from interaction that was a highlight for us, the unrefined but genuine presentation of people simply living their lives. There were the categories of children, mostly young men and the elders. It is important to note that customarily the women were not in the picture not unlike the patriarchal linage found in most of Africa, except in the Limbe fishing village.  There was some activity but the most interaction came with the other groups.

The lives of the people are hard, the conditions of living are not particularly unfamiliar to global fishing villages found all over the world,  it is the stereotypical picture we always  see on  television whenever  our continent is the topic of discussion for whatever propaganda is being promulgated. Nevertheless, it does not diminish the weight of the personal experience of the people in that, one can understand the challenges of the community, in our generalized Africa which continues in some circles to be referenced as a country instead of a continent, third world, emerging nation etc.
 Our observation of the lives of the people of these communities does exhibit the common fugal self-support system that has taken over our continent in the light of failed social and political systems. This does in a way bring on a sense of helplessness and general frustration with the relationship of the people with their governments which are ironically supposedly elected by these same people for better welfare infrastructure, education, health and basic living amenities which never ever become a reality

Tiko:        A Thousand Voices
Tiko fishing village is a stunningly beautiful creek area with mangrove forests that lend support to biologically diverse ecosystems, lush vegetation and many species of fish. This is a piece of land,  made up of peoples divergent voices including those of some, who had historically never seen, nor set foot on her land. The land of the area has its history. For centuries, her sovereignty and natural resources had been contested for, right up to this contemporary time and even more recently when the politics of oil discovery also became a divisive factor.
The site for our artistic intervention in this area which was an installation was inspired when we found a very tall, naked, lifeless and sun-bleached tree on the shoreline, right among the preparation areas of the fishermen where they set out to fish. Its location overlooked the shed-like huts that were lined up in the village as accommodation. The skeletal tree stood defiantly among the lush greenery as a symbolic metaphor for the living environment of the real indigenous fishermen and their families who live on meager incomes and live in abject poverty. This is the story of most West African fishing communities including the Niger Delta, where they  are the victims of oil exploration and have always been marginalized and on the periphery of socioeconomic and geopolitical discussions, debates, sharing formulas and benefits that ruin their lives and are the bane of their existence .






Despite this experiential predicament, the people were very receptive and collaborated happily in building the installation and all the other projects that were created. It was peaceful and calm in the area but when one stood still, listened intently, there was a persistent chattering from a proliferation of dotted weaver birds that had made up a whole community of nests in the tress of this area. These weaver birds build, claim and create clusters by constructing intricately woven homes to attract prospective mates. They appropriate found materials in that area such as tall elephant grass, palm fronds, wood and sticks just as we did in our installation.


Weaver Bird Nest

Materials gathered for the installation were disused fishermen’s tackle like fish nets, fishing baskets, rattan fishing scoops, polystyrene floats and so forth.The constant chattering of the weaver birds mimic the clamor of voices of the disconcerted and the disenfranchised fishing communities in riverine areas, this provoked the title “A Thousand Voices”. What was most striking was that as we were working, things happened right before our eyes within hours of the creation of the installation that was initially on the shore line. The installation now became submerged in the water, it was spectacular! The tide rose so quickly that we were advised by the villagers that if we did not leave, we would be trapped there till the tide goes out. The natural forces of coastal tides and flows influence or dictate the lives of the fishermen on this land, when to fish and when not to, chasing us away, to recede the next morning. Considering the irony of the tide in itself, it presents nature in the midst of propaganda and politics that revolve around this geographic area, as much as there is the blindness to the actual inhabitants and the habitat from the myriad of standpoints of the more secondary party who has the primary authority over the area.  In the tide, nature seems to take on the existence of the land area in itself. The tide comes in and erases the topic of contention in the possibility of providing reason for the inhabitants and the habitat at large only to return the next day in the hope of positive outcomes. The installation made by us was fully in tune with the concept of using what was available.   



Christians Polltion Installation


THE COMMUNAL SPACE



In  Tiko village, we created a particular project of engaging the children who are the future of the village to finding a place of identity in the sort of  open air village   shed. The Space was designated as central point of gathering and relaxation in the village, much like a town hall. It was a place that was flocked by the adults, while the children gathered and played a small distance away. There seemed a kind of vacuum, separation or displacement in the orientation of the children in relation to  things that were currently going on in the village but just as expected from children they were always very engrossed with the activity going on inside the communal space . They seemed to be losing out on the discussions inside the communal space which in turn affects the sense of belonging in the area. The goal of the project was to stamp a sense of identity and belonging, which the children could find through the participation in the project and could access even after it’s over, the residue of visual evidence of their participation in the project space and structure , symbolized  the buzz and activity of the village.


Odun and the kids


For this project, we made murals with the children of the community by  having their handprints pasted in different colours all over  the communal space. The energy of the activity was so intense, and electric with the bubbling excitement of the children. They kept consistently working on the  project never tiring, and one can  assume that if time had permitted they would have been  more than willing  to continue painting the whole village.  The introduction of different colours in the landscape of structures that were predominantly wood brown in broad monochromatic tones, was also quite different and had its effect on the temperament of the children with the brightness of the new colours in contrast to the neutrals of the environment.



   Tyna and the Kids


 It was such a strong intervention as the children overran the communal shed and will definitely find themselves part of meetings which will now be held in a space where they have physical visual evidence of their presence and validity that will subliminally remind the elders of their own needs too.

Our National Flags

Work continued with our colleagues and the over-eager participation of children in painting or emblazoning our respective flags in various locations in this community ( and Limbe). A country’s national flag serves as an emotional and sentimental unifying symbol that puts to rest or truncates our ethnicity, religious beliefs and culture. It is also the one thing apart from art, music and football .that ignites passion unity and a sense of patriotism pride and togetherness. This empowers us to forget our preconceived biases, assumptions and social conditioning. The Nigerian flag features three vertical stripes in equal proportions, the green on the left and right symbolizes our lush green vegetation, agriculture and its natural resources, while the white stripe  in the middle symbolized unity and the desire for peace. Nigeria gained independence on the first of October 1960, The Cameroonian flag also features three vertical stripes, the green on the right symbolizes the forests in the south, the red in the middle unity, while the yellow on the right represents the sun, happiness and the savannahs in the north with  the yellow five pointed star in the middle of the flag is referred to as the star of unity.  Cameroon gained independence on the 1st of January 1960, while its flag came into being on May 27 1975.



We stamped our authority and sense of self by painting on selected houses, and in one case, the front of an entire home. Our  countries’ flags signified  the duality of a shared past; colonial and geo-political history, intercommunal and cross border marriage, Pan African unity , reclamation and aspirations for a greater future on our continent. Art and collaborative residencies such as this, nurture and foster greater understanding between people, communities and countries.

SLAVERY:  Idenau and Lascombe community

The issue of slavery along the West African coast was interestingly raised during discussions amongst the Cameroonian artists and fishermen, and also  by finding connections standing on or walking through places with great history. This brought up thoughts of how things might have been in our historical past and how those who must have lived there at that time, might have felt or lived their lives in the conditions of their time. There is the refutable fact that we are women and tend to connect and understand and not to mention experience most things from this perspective. We also live and are acquainted with the symbolism and innuendos that are affiliated to women in our perception of historical walks. There were discussions on what must have occurred at that time with the women in these communities during slavery way beyond other conflicts that have crossed the area centuries ago?




NDIDI DIKE AND ODUN ORIMOLADE IN CONVERSATION:
Residues and Memories of  Slavery.


O.O: We had an interesting residency in April 2014 when Les Palette du Kamer organized an artistic intervention in the fishing communities of Limbe,Tiko and Idenau in the south west area of Cameroon. The purpose of the intervention was to give new life to the fishing activity that is the main income of the people’s daily life. It was also to build bridges, create awareness, peace and unity between Cameroonians’ and Nigerians using site specific  collaborations and works created in these communal spaces  with the participation of  local people based on materials found in their identified  locations within the fishing communities. The collaborative projects were very interesting but could we briefly talk about your other experiences outside of the artistic focus of our participation in the intervention in the fishing communities in Cameroon.

N.D:  Firstly I must say, artists long for the luxury of being able to create art in a free and enabling environment, our stay in Cameroon certainly provided the impetus for such. I   was elated and curious at my expectations associated with working in an unfamiliar environment. I found myself  unconsciously adopting  an instinctive, intuitive and open-minded strategy  to allow ideas  float in and out and veer off on  different tangents , that made me view things differently, and perhaps  call for a different medium of  interpretation and expression while at the same time, being aware of the demands of the project for which I was there. This is the beauty of “Seeing” and feeling”, I also recognized the fact and became more aware that we had a shared dual history of special interest, resource extraction, colonialism and slavery etc.  along the West African coast  that kept popping up during our group discussions.




 O O:  Before we delve any further, please engage me with a brief introduction to slavery in this part of the West African coast that has been a preoccupation for you in your professional practice as an artist.


N D: The predominant slave narrative almost always comes from the African American, Afro- American, Brazilian, European perspective and so forth, while Slavery along the West African Coast had existed for centuries. I think, a contemporary African perspective that seems to be neglected could perhaps offer another view to this consistent and more inclusive narrative. In Cameroon, Limbe not much is known about slavery but it was allegedly started by the Portuguese, then the Dutch, and  the British whose  missionaries “ helped” to abolish it, while there was still an ongoing tussle between the British and the Germans over trading rites, it is actually alleged in history, that the Douala of Cameroon served as middlemen in some of the transactions, while the majority of slaves traded from the Cameroon came from inland invasions on Bimbia 8.5km from Limbe.Bimbia is on the east coast located near the Atlantic Ocean. It served as a major slave port and the supply of slaves to the new world. Remains of historical stone, relics and slave cells bear witness to this tragic period of history that still exists to this day, of which Limbe is also a part

.O.O: This is intriguing and takes me back to your very significant solo exhibition that was titled Waka-Into-Bondage: The Last ¾ Mile curated by Bisi Silva at the CCA Lagos. So, let me ask; why do you consistently in one form or another or by insinuation return to the topic of slavery or in current day vernacular, human trafficking and what made you decide to use me as your Muse in the course of the projects we worked on in Cameroon?

N.D: Yes! Conceptually speaking, that exhibition was a step further in stimulating   my ever changing evolution as an artist, the word “human trafficking” is just a question of semantics, it’s like donning up a  word in a new garb, no matter what, it does not and can never ever   remove the depth and pain still associated with that period of time in the black or African American history. Sights,  sounds  and physical encounters  conjure up vivid imaginations and emotions, the stark reality and empathy I felt as I once again, dipped my feet on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean( while working in these fishing communities when we collaborated and installed our works) that harbored and to this day, is still linked to the history of our continent, this tryst or  action or catalyst  subconsciously led to the murmur of dominant vibrations that persistently force me to periodically return to the recurring slave narrative of our ancestors forced migratory path in my current day studio practice. Rooted in the perspective of being a woman, while working with you, I noticed an energy and intensity that radiates and bursts from you, that I could read organically, and interpret into performance, at the behest of my request. This embodiment of characteristics is what became my Muse, Odun, you then became and transcended into my Muse, you enabled me to imagine a state of consciousness as a voyeur into the mindscape, headspace and time of a woman who survived but witnessed the abduction of her family and village during a slave raid. Our staged scenarios, or verses, stanzas, poetries were a perfect medium to express what I could not say in my familiar media, this time it was to be words, video and captured/photographed performance I hoped would suffice for the imagination and insertion into the time space of that awful reality that treads and trickles on to this contemporary time.



Your black cladding and covering up of the face,  despite  the transparency and thin net like quality of the material, intensified your facial expressions, is to me  interpreted as symbolic of mourning and loss, and not about erasure or denial but self-preservation, a protective barrier to emotionally divorce the potency of oneself.



From getting too close or intimate with the person you are portraying and the pain that perhaps one would otherwise experience, the separate identities do not function as a duality, quite like our culture of masquerading that has a multiplicity of meanings and functions, I saw a transformation from the self to another being that had with fear and trepidation gone back in time to literally and figuratively portray memories of time and location. The poses were different retracing of the steps formerly visited by people, members of my imagination, showing reactions of despair trepidation disbelief anguish deep seated or rooted sadness loss, that state of being that mentally wafts in and out of the present purported reality that is being experienced



O.O: I would like to share something about my internal experiences during
the performance

N.D: Please feel free to, it was a mutually intense experience, where both spirits resonated as one.
O.O: I too felt a very strong kinship and empathy with your feelings referencing my journey to the Elmina Castle in Ghana in 2013 while performing. Through the   poses, it seemed as though I imbibed a state of mind as if to cuddle up in the notion to close the self off from everything else. The fetal position as much as it staves off external influences, it also intensifies internal nuances of entering into a separate space that the tangible location infers. Stretching, crouching, standing, there were all different means to sense any residue of the presence of those who would have been in the boat that had taken them away. The state of the boat that was chosen as the subject lent itself to the concept a hand of things gone past. The boat seemed that it was weathered and worn with history of its nefarious activity though it only had a recent history of wear from extensive fishing activity  but its visual look helped the story embodied  in the character of the boats that held the abominable cargo it had once  carried centuries ago.






N.D: This was so deep and meaningful coincidently, it leads me to another incident I encountered and will expatiate on your reference to the boat, I had noticed as we drove into Edinao on a German built bridge,



with a territorial naval base jointly manned by Cameroonians and Nigerians, on the right hand side,  a large wooden boat, called le Piroque by the francophone countries normally made from a single log of wood, lying on its side. This old and weathered boat in the past was used for fishing and the transportation of slaves to larger rigged ships that were anchored further out in the Atlantic Ocean during the transatlantic slave trade. This immediately triggered in my mind a visualization of the holding cells on the boat, the slaves and the slave traders.

 For this work, there was a redefinition and reenactment of this moment in our West African  history, using the fishermen of Lascombe village made up of Cameroonians, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Beninois and Togolese, to  be a part of a performance interventions using one of the boats on the beach as an installation. I asked them to voluntarily enter the boat with pride and confidence to symbolize the enactment and homage to our forcefully migrated ancestors, which is ironic to the brutal situation perpetuated centuries ago, there was certainly no pride then in such activity that at times was carried out in secret. People were literally abducted from sight even in the doing the perpetuators knew  it was an unconscionable act but profit trumped all that. In the process, the fishermen elected to select who would be in the portrait with one child in this portrait, those in the photograph represented  not only those who  survived the middle passage and all its atrocities, but their lives and labour ultimately led to modern capitalism and the  continued prosperity of present day industrialized world economies.
I observed the participants pose in a very unconscious manner with an interest that is affiliated to the concept of having their picture taken. They rested on the symbol of anguish and robbery that had housed people of their community centuries ago with only a view of its commercial quality of bringing food back home. They seemed blissfully unaware of the irony of the same object functioning in an exploitative use where they, the people are the commodity. The pose brought together a marriage of the past and present with the element of characters that are from the present in the subject and object but both having links to the past both symbolically and in genealogy





Africans in the Lascombe Community

  
O.O: On the heels of this Cameroonian experience, what inspirations would you plan acting on in the future considering your consistent contributions to the contemporary Nigerian art field?
N D: Before I came to Cameroon, I was already working on a few projects, when I get back to my studio, I will continue with them and add  our publication documenting our experiences here, and also the use of iconic slavery images and objects that still hold sway and reference the  global world of trade, industrial production processes,  migratory deaths in the Mediterranean Sea, consumerism and popular culture  in Lagos markets  etc.   


 Boats , and  Platforms.


It was extremely odd to see oil rig platforms so close to shore. The first instinct was that of trepidation and apprehension as to first, one’s  personal security then the security of the communities that were already in existence before these rigs came up so close to their personal living areas, commercial areas  right  smack dab in the middle of where their fishing practices are  being conducted.

There is a triad relationship of the commercialism with the platforms that lives off the fishing communities, the fishing boats that are the soul of the community and commercial pulse which are also akin to the slavery boats that carried out the commercialization of human lives in the history of people of coastal regions of West Africa.
They seemed interlinked in carrying each other and affecting each other from a point of the rape and exploitation  of human resources and suppression to the struggle for existence and livelihood that even if not technologically advanced, has lasted generations in providing and sustaining right into the newly found resources that begin a new tussle for products on the same space and location. However odd, the visual relations may seem in their abstracted construction or structure, they are linked by the lives of the people that have and are living their lives in that location and are tied by the experiences that they go through in their lineages that do not end through genealogical transmission
.
Darting Souls
    
The Tiko fishing village has a lot of mangrove swamps, forests and  fora also inhabited by fish in tall structures in  that, the people have been sailing in and out  of them  for generations. Some of the abandoned boats lay in disrepair within the huge root vegetation, were the intricate winding courses of the vegetation sometimes lead into thick dark areas of mass clusters or intricate and broad expanses where the river flows through and creates its own course.

It brings to mind thoughts of the people who have lived their lives in and around these areas over the years through all the occurrences and events. How their souls would have darted around these locations before their passing, leaving the silent vines to carry the memory of their existence and an   account of their experiences unable to speak out to us, the current observers. It seemed appropriate to incorporate as an element of this work, the image of the black body which is used in previous performances that occurred during the residency that served as  metaphor for the embodiment of the spirit of an individual in representation of a multitude of  facts and places.

The black body darting through the vines is a repetitive constant that alludes to the continuity of human life in this habitat. Highlighting the relation of the people to the geographical area regardless of what documented information and the building of archives promulgates. The black body here is the talisman that indicates and affirms the core of the relationship between the people and the location with the events and communal lifestyles and systems that have wrapped, oriented and forged them into contemporary times


The Idenau  and Tiko fishing villages have a lot of mangrove swamps and forests ,and  fora also inhabited by fish , that the people have been sailing in and out  of  for generations. The boats lay in repair within the huge root vegetation. Also were the intricate winding courses of the vegetation sometimes leading into thick dark areas of mass clusters or intricate and broad expanses where the river flows through and  creates its own course.

Visual Encounters and Fishing life Installations


There was so much to see in these semi-rural environments for visual artists. Predominantly, were the onslaught of colours and textures provided by nature and man  living their lives the way they do. The textures from the nets, jumbled work tools, stretchers, doorways, constructed walls and so many others were infinite in their attraction.





 There was a huge installation to protect the fish roasting den from rain that was magnificent. Its construction and colour coordination, an assemblage of umbrellas was a handmade structure of repurposed umbrellas  to combat the high winds in the area.

 Also were the repurposing of the heavy fish nets to make huge hammocks for rests during breaks.


Most of the man-made art installations that were found all provide functional value and inspired the process project of sewing old storage bags together to provide the much needed shade that is inadequate in these communities. The intense action of arranging aesthetically then sowing them  together by hand as  a way  repurposing them for function that is the core of the community culture in these areas. The action removed the lifestyle and embraced a way of progress that finds its place in the lifestyle of these people. The sewing community project was participated in with the youth who were amazed at the speed in which the manual action took place with the potential onslaught of a heavy downpour that eventually caught up with us, and were very helpful in erecting and installing the canopy tapestry in front of their village meeting point.. They provided an inspiration for the abstract images generated from the organic arrangements that nature puts together in jumbling its own elements. The images provide an atmosphere of the areas from which they were inspired as relics to the visual experience of the location of the fishing villages that were visited.                                                 
June 2014  

Ndidi Dike
Odun Orimolade
Tyna Adebowale