From Sharjah’s Vantage Point, a view of Nigeria’s culture, streetscapes

‘Felabration 2014 by Logo Olowamuyiwa, showing at Vantage Point Sharjah

Among the 36 photographers from over 20 countries, whose works showed in Vantage Point Sharjah 7 at Galleries 1 and 2, Al Mureijah Square, Sharjah, UAE, were two Nigerians, Logo Oluwamuyiwa and Lakin Ogunbawo.

The 2019 edition, which opened on July 6 and ended October 6, featured, for the first time, photographs by artists from the regulars countries like UAE and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-based photographers.

Organised by Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), the 2019 edition had over 200 applicants from more than 50 countries respond to the call for entries. After a juried process, photographers for the exhibition were selected from countries such as Republic of Congo, France, Nigeria, Sudan, Russia, South Africa, United States of America and United Arab Emirates.

Oluwamuyiwa, a familiar name on the Lagos’ art scene, came into the Vantage Point Sharjah show with a sub-theme Monochrome Lagos, which captures outdoor sceneries on digital prints.

He had his debut exhibition titled Down The Rabbit Hole, in 2016 at Alara Contemporary, Victoria Island, Lagos. Earlier in the same year, he had his debut group exhibition, titled, Young Contemporaries with Dipo Doherty, Ayobola Kekere-Ekun, Eloghosa Osunde and Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu.

Among his works viewed via soft copies received from SAF are a composite of highway sign near one of the bridges in Lagos, a rear act of passenger from moving bus and gathering of music fans during one of the city’s leading festivals. More of creative depth in outdoor photography is Oluwamuyiwa’s high breathtaking high angle shot of the music fans, in which a massive ray of light strengthens the depth of the photograph’s dimensionality-effect.

The scene, which the photographer describes as Felabration was the 2014 edition of a yearly gathering of fans, from across the world, in celebration of the late Afrobeat music legend and activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti who died in 1997.

Ogunbanwo, who is also a familiar name on the photography exhibition circuit of Lagos took his costume concepts to the Vantage Point show.

In colour photography, the exhibits explore diverse socio-cultural practices of Nigeria’s multi-ethnic nation state, particularly in wedding ceremonies. Ogunbanwo’s works include, ladies in different ethnic costumes, but veiled in common fashion styles.

In 2012, Ogunbanwo had his debut solo exhibition The Mask, at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.

With Vantage Point 2019, Nigerian artists have expanded their participation in the creative space of Sharjah, a city that boasts of all loaded international art events all year round.

Last March, two Nigerians, Otobong Nkanga and Emeka Ogboh won the 2019 Sharjah Biennial Prize. Their joint installations, titled, ‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’, was on display among projects and commissions from over 80 artists selected across the world.

Apart from Nkanga and Ogboh, another Nigerian artist, Leo Asemota’s work sculpture and drawing was also on display. Nkanga is a familiar name on the Sharjah’s art landscape.

Based in Antwerp, Belgium, Nkanga in 2013, showed at the 11th edition of the Sharjah Biennial event with performance and installation titled, ‘Taste of a Stone: Itiat Esa Ufok’.

Launched in 2013, Vantage Point Sharjah, a yearly initiative, according to SAF is dedicated to the practice of photography. Currently, the initiative aims to foster photographers’ development and creativity as well as encourage their engagement with the wider cultural community.

Among the photographers who exhibited are Huda Abdulmughni, Gregory Dargent, Raoof Dashti Emmanuel, Koto Kongogbi Eko, Hana Gamal, Saif Hussein, Ron John, Oli Kellett, Hanan Hassan Al-Khalifa, M’hammed Kilito, Nedim Kufi, Mahshid Mahboubifar, Firoz Mahmud, Amine Oulmakki, Rachid Ouettassi, Thania Petersen Christopher, Revelle, Aron Rossman-Kiss, Shubho Saha, Abeer Abdelmonaim Sdieg, Marwan Tahtah, Oliver Tooke, Olga Vorobyova, Zakaria Wakrim and Bahar Yürükoğlu.

Explaining the general contents of the participating photographers, the organisers stated: “The selected photographs offer viewers a unique perspective on
various subjects by using different styles, such as conceptual photography, street photography, land and cityscapes and portraiture.”

The pictures, the statement explained, “further demonstrate a wide range of techniques in both digital and 35mm photography, such as montage, collage, archival reconstruction, infrared and light painting.”

Initially opened to UAE and later GCC based photographers, Vantage Point Sharjah’s previous editions explored different themes each year, ranging from performance to self-portraiture to architecture and urban landscape.

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