“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
— Don McCullin
Bolaji Alonge is a Nigerian artist, photographer, actor and journalist from Lagos, Nigeria. Also known as Eyes of a Lagos Boy, with more than a decade of experience in documenting history, looking for beauty where it is least expected.
Alonge’s visual language speaks of the wonders of nature and human exchange, urban culture and searches for historical continuity in a world that is sometimes heavily fractured. His lens exposes contrast and conflict while offering an alternative vision of oneness, order in chaos. He is also a globetrotter who has travelled around the world during the last decade documenting exotic culture and history.
In May 2017, Alonge organized the “Eyes of a Lagos Boy” photo exhibition at the prestigious Freedom Park in Lagos. The show presented iconic images of everyday life and societal concerns from Nigeria, Egypt, the Netherlands, Oman, Germany, India, Turkey and Sweden. “Eyes of A Lagos Boy” was declared a resounding success in terms of attendance and response from both the Nigerian and international audience giving birth to a unique photographic brand. The exhibition brought together admirers of arts/photography to exchange views, interact and encourage young Africans to pick up the camera, travel and make photography a career.
He shows his beloved Lagos from unexpected angles, a city that inspires and captivates the imagination but also pulls people into a vortex of energy and constant challenges. Images of everyday life in Nigeria carry deep social messages that expose fragility, audacity but also squalor. Bolaji makes the viewer reconsider what we have seen with our own eyes, through the Eyes of a Lagos Boy.
“I aim to capture the reality of the average African – a mix of stark realities that might seem chaotic but have their own functionality – however disorganized it looks at first sight. Life works in Africa too. The two main components of chaos theory are the idea that systems no matter how complex rely upon an underlying order, and that very simple or small systems and events can cause very complex behaviours or event. This is a red thread throughout my work today”.
“Eyes of a Lagos Boy” is promoted through the production of T-shirts and other merchandising, available worldwide, which supports self-funding projects.
Alonge’s experience and his travels made him a great storyteller who loves to share his photography and the deeper meaning of the stunning images he presents.
I encourage young Africans to take up the camera and document history – those memories that make up the fabric of existence. In order to move forward we have to know where we come from. I do it by searching for unique shots, that become integrated in the mood boards of our lives
His second solo exhibition “Urban Culture – Historical Continuity” was held at One Draw Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos in November 2018, establishing Bolaji’s brand of photography to a new audience, receiving great reviews from artists and art lovers.
In February 2019, Bolaji showcased his work at Baza Studio in New York, The event was attended by the Nigerian Consul in New York, UN officials, art curators, musicians, artists, press and art aficionados. On 16th March 2019, Eyes of A Lagos Boy was also introduced in a showcase in Antwerp, Belgium.
During Felabration in October 2019, Alonge held the Afrobeat – The Legacy photo exhibition on Femi Kuti at Freedom Park, Lagos.
Bolaji also works on social and documentary projects, such as a campaign on the human right to water, a pilot study on Lagos Coastal Health that documented the health challenges of more than 145 communities inhabiting the 200 km (120 mi) stretch of Lagos lagoon and “Silent Majority” a creative art/photography workshop for street orphans, the socially deprived or displaced and teenagers in juvenile detention or correctional facilities. He is a passionate deep sea-diver and activist for ecological justice.
Bolaji Alonge joined Music in Africa as the Regional Editor for West Africa in August 2019. Music In Africa is the largest resource for information and exchange in and for the African music sector. From March 2020, he is fully dedicated to the Eyes of a Lagos Boy project.
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