ICAB 2021: Arts in the streets of Lagos

Iwaya Community Art Biennial ICAB 2021 themed “No Victor, No Vanquished: The World At The Crossroads” is currently being held on the Yaba axis of Lagos. The biennial is on between 10 – 18 December.

ICAB is an artist-run, community-based gathering of contemporary and interdisciplinary artists. The biennial largely features multimedia projects: audio/visual experimentation created through communal research, interaction and collaboration with everyday people living within and outside the community.

Aderemi Adegbite, the Artistic Director of ICAB 2021 said: “In 2016, we created the Iwaya Community Art Festival as a community based contemporary art project with the aim of bringing top quality art closer to the people who cannot afford to go to White Boxes and Museums to see it. Bringing performing arts closer to the people of Iwaya Community. To provide artistic creations and to find organic spaces on various streets in the community through openness and connectedness.”

Aderemi Adegbite, Artistic Director – ICAB 2021 Photo by Eyes of a Lagos Boy

Adegbite opined on the theme of the biennial, “No Victor, No Vanquished: The World At The Crossroads is a remix of two extreme historical statements: ‘No Victor and No Vanquished’ description by Gen. Yakubu Gowon of the Biafra Civil War in 1970 and Burma: A Nation At The Crossroads,’ the title of Benedict Rogers’ book on Myanmar’s civil war.”

Bolaji Alonge (Eyes of a Lagos Boy) is one of the participating artists of ICAB 2021. He presents “The Cure”, a photo project that zooms into the mysterious world of “agbo”, a herbal medicine used to cure all ailments known to man, including impotence. The drink is sold from dusk to dawn, often by attractive women on the side of the road, reminding users (or patients) of what the night might have in store. “The Cure” is a project that is still under construction – launched at the 2021 Iwaya Community Art Biennial. Alonge says “I am excited to show these photos in Iwaya. They attracted some controversy before the opening – one of the ladies featured is from this area – this added fire to the discussion on art in our society.”

The Biennial in its third edition opened with a street party at Omotola junction that saw colourful displays by dancers, a freestyle BMX rider that wowed the kids and passersby already gathered in amusement. Edaoto and the Afrogenius band were also on set. The following days are packed with artistic interventions, dancers, theater makers, symposiums, photo walk from Onike roundabout, documentary screenings and a host of activities.

The streets of Iwaya and its environs are transformed into an open air gallery for the duration of the biennial week with arts by more than 50 Nigerian and international artists in alleys, marginal spaces and corners of the area, home to more than 250,000 people, the largest to be seen in Lagos.

ICAB 2021 is curated by Enechukwu Uche and Taiwo Ayiedogbon, it features over fifty artists that include; Kayode Oluwa, Ebun Akinbo, Uche Okpah Iroha, Janneke Van der Putten (NL) Andrew Eseibo, Taiwo Dennie, Olufela Omokeko, Eyes of a Lagos Boy, Anang Saptoto (Indonesia), Don Dudu, Dickonet Traore (Mali) Omoregie Osapolo, Busayo Olowu, Film Stills by Stephen Goldblatt – Mareike Palmeira (Germany) and many others.

In 2017, the Artist in Residence (AiR) programme was initiated as part of the festival, which invited international artists including Aline Motta (Brazil) , Anja Sijben (The Netherlands) , Moran Been-Noon, Gor Soudan, Rita GT. By 2018, the festival had metamorphosed into a biennial that featured Nigerian artists and others Kris Russo (USA), Suraia Abud, Massira Massira Touré (Mali), Raffaele Fortunati(Spain), Nameer Davis, Yusuf Durodola (Nigeria) for the one month AiR programme. The outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 provided a break due to world wide travel restrictions.

ICAB in 2021 is back bigger and better.

Below is the list of performers/performance artists/collectives for ICAB Lagos 2021:

  • 10th: The Future of Dance company
  • 11th: Kings and queens
  • 12th: Busayo
  • 13th Janneke Van Der Putten – ‘’Latibo sibo’’ performance, (sound) (Iwaya community) Monday, December, 10am.
  • 13th: Dream Art Centre
  • 14th: Valu
  • 14th Tolu Ami-William – ‘’I hope the voice matches the face’’ performance (Iwaya community) Tuesday, December, 4pm.
  • 14th Ganiu Ismail – live painting (Iwaya community) Tuesday, December
  • 14th Idorenyin Akpan – live painting (Iwaya community) Tuesday, December, 2pm.
  • 14th Onakoya Afeez- live painting (Iwaya community) Tuesday, December, 2pm.
  • 15th: Communal Explorers
  • 15th Taiwo Aiyedogbon – ‘’How many more’’ performance (Iwaya community) Tuesday, December, 12pm.
  • 15th Valerie Fab-Uche – ‘’Suwe’’ performance (School of Art, Yaba College of Technology), Wednesday, December, 2pm.
  • 16th: Ijolomo Dance company / Screening of “Unscripted “
  • 16th Maxwell Marcus – ‘’Ojiji’’ performance (Iwaya community) Thursday, December, 3pm.
  • 17th: Sinmijay and Gbadun squad / Crown Troupe of Africa
  • 18th Stacey – Catharsis, 4pm
  • 18th: Koffivi / Don Dudu Creations / Eseosa
The date of a special performance by Yusuf Durodola will be announced soon.