Nigerian photographer Bolaji Alonge, Eyes of a Lagos Boy, presents his exhibition ICONIC LAGOS at this year’s Brighton Fringe Arts Festival in the UK, from 9 to 21 May 2023 at the Jubilee Library, Brighton’s main library and from 23 May to 4 June at Plus X Innovation Hub.
Meet and greet the artist at Caravanserai, North of St Peter’s Church on Saturday 13 and Sunday 21 May – 10 am to 4pm. Caravanserai is the beating heart of Brighton Fringe, look for us under one of the hooplas and take Iconic Lagos home with you.
England’s largest arts festival and one of the largest fringe festivals in the world, Brighton Fringe is held annually throughout the city. Iconic Lagos is presented as part of the Culture Connex Festival season in collaboration with Urbanflo, PACE, Brighton Fringe, Brighton Pride and the University of Sussex (Black@Sussex).
Iconic Lagos is about celebrating everyday life in Lagos, Nigeria, honoring its inhabitants and exploring what makes the city unique. The photo exhibition captures the soul of Lagos and evokes its essence. More than 25 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 now and then.
The artist aims to present an authentic narrative through photography and art to the next generation, from the colors of the streets and markets of Lagos, the hustle and bustle, to the sun-soaked beaches by its shores. Alonge said, “Last summer my wife and I were publicizing the maiden edition of Iconic Lagos that was held in September 2022 during a trip in Europe. We came across huge colorful photo-posters lining the walls of the Brighton Central train station that read ‘Iconic Brighton’ and excitedly pointed out the synchronicity of our messages. We had no idea then that we will be bringing the same exhibition to that very city the following year. I am proud to show Lagos to a new audience on this platform.”
Eyes of a Lagos Boy documents history from the perspective of an African, Alonge photographs everyday life and highlights the beauty of the continent’s largest city, while working towards a balanced representation in the eyes of the world. At Brighton Fringe, Alonge presents his own work and mixed art in collaboration with Jason Ogbazi.
Renowned Nigerian photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi reflected on Iconic Lagos: “It has become a favorite pastime for our people to complain about the bad image of the African continent. My question has always been what happened to our story tellers? The ultimate responsibility for changing this negative narrative lies in the hands of Africa’s image makers. Iconic Lagos is a strong attempt at telling the story of Lagos, one of Africa’s most vibrant cities.”
Another Nigerian photographer, Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin II is showcasing “Not a Country.” The exhibits recognizes the significance of fabric as a representation of a community’s shared identity across the entire African continent.
A Nigerian theater troupe, Performing Arts Workshop and Studios PAWS premier their riveting, experiential play inspired by events that led to a murder in Lagos in 1953, ‘Esther’s Revenge’ from 25 May to 3 June. Written and directed by Kenneth Uphopho, starring Bolanle Atitebi.
In 2022, Brighton Fringe showcased over 4,000 performances of 765 events at 124 venues in Brighton, Hove and beyond, with an estimated attendance of 400,000 people, and an economic impact of £14 million for the local economy.
Bolaji Alonge is an artist, photographer, journalist 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. In 2020, Alonge was the Rapporteur of the PACE ENTANGLED festival, a Pan-African exchange forum. 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 Iwaya Community Art Biennale ICAB in November-December 2021. Greener Pastures was also presented at IREP 2022 documentary festival.
ICONIC LAGOS was first shown at Didi Museum in September 2022, as a collaborative project with 21 other artists. The exhibition was also a part of the Lagos Fringe the following November.
Jubilee Library, Jubilee St, Brighton, Brighton and Hove, Brighton BN1 1GE
Plus X Innovation Hub, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 4GL
Caravanserai, North of St Peter’s Church Brighton, and, Hove BN1 4GU
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