WATA don PASS; Looking West– an exclusive Performance Event at Lilith Performance Studio presenting four artists from West Africa;Taiwo Aiyedogbon (NGA), Bernard Akoi-Jackson (GHA), Christian Etongo (CMR), Odun Orimolade (NGA) and a seminar at Moderna Museet Malmö.
Performance Event: May 14 -16 between 7-10 pm, Lilith Performance Studio
Seminar: May 13, 2015, Moderna Museet Malmö. The Seminar held in English, free entry.
For the first time in Scandinavia Lilith Performance Studio presented four newly commissioned large-scale performances with Aiyedogbon Taiwo (Nigeria), Bernard Akoi-Jackson (Ghana), Christian Etongo (Cameroon) and Odun Orimolade (Nigeria) that took place simultaneously, without compromising neither artistic expression nor the unique experience.
Over the past year the four artists have developed performances specifically for Lilith Performance Studio. From their different artistic vantage points they highlight the emerging performance art scene in West Africa, with the common feature that performance has become an important part of their oeuvre. During three nights in May their wayward, humorous and personal works filled the entire studio for three nights in a row.
WATA don PASS; Looking West is a curatorial collaboration between Bisi Silva; Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, Nigeria, Marianne Hultman; Oslo Kunstforening and Elin Lundgren, Petter Pettersson; Lilith Performance Studio.
The title of the event refers to a pidgin expressionmeaning toachievebeyond expectations.
Performance Event May 14-16 at Lilith Performance Studio
Taiwo Aiyedogbon (NGA) – African Time
In a staged situation Aiyedogbon, tongue in cheek, puts Western prejudices against the expression “African Time” up to the test, while at the same time challenging our gridded pattern of life, where we let ourselves be chased by time.For WATA don Pass; Looking West a “real” restaurant was built up in the studio, with a chef, headwaiter, staff and a lot of African food that was prepared and cooked in the kitchen, but hardly ever served. Aiyedogbon used a Nigerian restaurant as a metaphor for a collapsing society, which she’s coming from.
Taiwo Aiyedogbon (b.1989) belongs to the new generation of visual artists in Nigeria, and is still studying art at Yaba College of Technology in Lagos. She has participated in several performances and has over the past year started to develop her own language with this art form.
Bernard Akoi-Jackson (GHA) – Untitled: How to Usher the [an] African fully into [His]tory…”
From the layers of bureaucratic regulations and modern rituals Bernard Akoi-Jackson have created a fictitious system where the audience is hemmed in. The system, which has a recognizable structure, is followed on pure gut instinct, with no questioning. Bernard Akoi-Jackson (f.1979) examines recurrent hybrid postcolonial identities, through temporary markings and performative rituals. He often presents himself as the elusive God Eshu, the messenger between gods and humans.
Odun Orimolade (NGA) – Spirits at the ball
Orimolade’s point of departure is the 18th century ball using it as a metaphor to engage the events before, during and after the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. Spirits at the Ball is best described as a fantasy of sorts, amusing but with a serious undertone, which reflects on the conference. The ball makes you think of fine ladies in crinolines, the rustling of their fabrics and gentlemen in tails, but this image is interrupted by another presence; the people’s spirits Emi. Odun Orimolade’s (b.1976) practice spans a broad artistic field with painting, drawing, collage, etching, sculptural installation and performance. Several of her works clearly turns the spotlight toward the viewer challenging his/her active, passive role when experiencing the work.
Christian Etongo (CMR) – Probo Koala
The Probo Koala is the tanker that in 2006 dumped five hundred tons of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. This event is the starting point for Etongo’s performance, in which, with the help of the visitors he will perform the purification ritual Tsô, as practice among the Beti in Cameroon. In the ritual a person who has entered into covenant with evil is purified. In Christian Etongo’s (f.1972) performance practice, ritual constitutes a principal element. He has a background in the performing arts, dance and theatre, but as a visual artist he has worked within different media. However since the late 1990s, he has worked exclusively with performance.
Seminar May 13 at Moderna Museet Malmö
On May 13 a seminar will be held in collaboration with Moderna Museet Malmö. The programme has been organised by and will be moderated by Marianne Hultman, and artists, art historians, curators and scientists from Nigeria, Norway, Sweden and Zambia will participate.
The notion that Sweden and Norway never took part in colonialism, or that if they did, their role was marginal, is still considered legitimate. But in recent years studies have disputed this claim. A new historiography is taking shape that interferes with the self-image we have become accustomed to. How is it that some parts of history remain unaccounted for, and what does that say about us? What happens when the façade of our national identity cracks and how does that affect how we perceive one another?
During the seminar perspectives will turn towards Sweden and Norway, while it broadens to include other parts of the continent, not only West Africa. With a starting point in the Berlin Conference in 1884-85, usually described as The Scramble for Africa, the seminar aims at learning more about Sweden-Norway’s role during the conference and how our presence, especially in the Congo region, have inspired ideas and representations of the continent in the past as well as today.
Nina Berre, Curator and Director of Architecture at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo. Berre will discuss the Norwegian contribution to the Nordic Pavilion at the Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2014 Forms of Freedom, the African Independence and Nordic Models.
Loulou Cherinet, visual artist, divides her time between Stockholm and Addis Ababa. Cherinet will talk about her latest film project. Cherinet also takes part in Moderna Museet’s current exhibition The New Human: You and I in Global Wonderland.
Anawana Haloba, visual artist, working in Oslo and Livingstone. In Reconstructing Histories; The City that Refuses to be Silenced LoCA Haloba will describe her latest project, the artist initiated library and research centre for art in Livingstone, Zambia.
David Nilsson, historian and researcher at KTH in Stockholm, recently published the article Sweden-Norway at the Berlin Conference 1884-1885: History, National Identity-making and Sweden’s Relations with Africa. In Tales of Sweden: Failed Imperialist or Humanitarian Superpower Nilsson questions how much can one forget or omit from history before it becomes a lie?
Bisi Silva, founder and director of the CCA, Lagos in Nigeria has worked in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. What do these art scenes reveal for a curator based in Nigeria with the world as a working field.
Espen Wæhle, Project Manager at the Norwegian Maritime Museum, between 2005-2009 took part in a research project, which resulted in the publication Navigating Colonial Orders: Norwegian Entrepreneurship in Africa and Oceania. Wæhle will speak about Congo: Images, Imaginations, and Identity: 1870 to modern times.
WATA don PASS; Looking West was made possible through the kind support of: The City of Malmo Arts and Culture, Swedish Arts Council and Regional development of Arts and culture, The Nordic Culture fondation.
Partners are: Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, Malmö Art Academy, Moderna Museet Malmö, Inter arts Center, Oslo Kunstforening, Beckers färgservice, Svanströms repro AB.