ICONIC LAGOS is an art project dedicated to the largest city in Africa, the economic and cultural heart of Nigeria, Lagos. The exhibition will be held at DIDI MUSEUM from 14 to 26 September 2022 and at selected venues in Lagos.
More than 21 million people live together in this megapolis – a pulsating beehive, with its main arteries in constant overdrive. The city is hailed as the home of Nollywood and the cradle of Afrobeat(s), Nigerian arts and fashion. Tradition and futurism are merged into everyday habits that marry past and present. Lagos is a destination, you either love it or hate it, but you can’t ignore it.
The challenges paired with rapid urbanization dominate the image of this city. ICONIC LAGOS is about celebrating everyday life in Lagos, honoring its inhabitants and exploring what makes this city unique.
Eyes of a Lagos Boy, Bolaji Alonge documents history from the African perspective. He explains, “Defining our own image is one way of taking charge of our future. We need to consciously move away from the poverty porn images that the internet is flooded with. ICONIC LAGOS presents an alternative narrative that will remain tattooed on the viewers’ retina.”
ICONIC LAGOS consists of three elements: photography by Bolaji Alonge, mixed media images by Bolaji Alonge and Jason Ogbazi, and those of other artists – expressing their own vision of Iconic Lagos.
A call for submissions is launched from 12 July to 15 August for artists to submit their works on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @eyesofalagosboy #iconiclagos. A selection will be presented at Didi Museum in September.
A printed and online catalogue will be presented at the opening. An artistic workshop for children, KIDS PLAY, will be organized alongside a masterclass on visual storytelling. A range of digital footprints are planned – from an NFT to integrating ICONIC LAGOS on digital platforms. A follow-up exhibition will take place in Atlanta, Georgia (US) early 2023.
Bolaji Alonge is an artist, photographer and actor from Lagos, Nigeria with more than two decades of experience in documenting history. In May 2017, Bolaji presented his maiden “Eyes of a Lagos Boy” solo exhibition at Freedom Park in Lagos. His second solo exhibition “Urban Culture – Historical Continuity” was held at One Draw Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos in November 2018. In February 2019, Bolaji showcased his work at Baza Studio in New York. A third solo exhibition, “Black & White” was held at Quintessence, Lagos in July 2019.
He presented “Afrobeat: The Legacy” at Freedom Park in Lagos during Felabration 2019, dedicated to Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, Fela Kuti‘s eldest son. Together with 7 other photographers, Bolaji showcased “Nigeria Trending” at the Lagos Fringe Festival in November 2020, covering the #EndSARS protest. In February 2021, he showed “Street Flowers of Lagos” at Temple Muse.
Greener Pastures, dedicated to riverine communities in Lagos, was first held at Didi Museum, Lagos to critical acclaim in September 2021, as well as part of the Lagos Fringe Festival and ICAB Biennale in November-December 2021. Greener Pastures was also presented at IREP 2022 documentary festival.
Jason Nnamdi Ogbazi is an accomplished artist and designer born in Nigeria, from the South-East. While in the UK for his higher education, he started working alongside top fashion photographers and designers. This experience set the tone for his further artistic development. He constantly strives to create sophisticated images and designs that embody class and originality.