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.