The Àkéte Art Foundation is pleased to announce the curators for the 2019 edition of the Lagos Biennial: Antawan I. Byrd (left), Hansi Momodu-Gordon (centre), and Tosin Oshinowo (right). For the forthcoming edition, the three curators will collaboratively devise the biennial’s curatorial framework encompassing exhibitions, performances, publishing projects, and public programmes.
“The three curators come from diverse backgrounds with a wealth of international experience across the fields of contemporary art, architecture, and design,” states Folakunle Oshun, the biennial’s founding director. “All three curators have strong ties to the Lagosian arts and culture sector. Oshinowo is currently based in Lagos and is a lead architect at cmDesign Atelier (cmD+A). Through her architectural and design practice, she has established herself as an innovative thinker and leading authority on the city’s built environment. Meanwhile, Byrd, an assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Momodu-Gordon, an independent curator based in London, have both lived and worked in Lagos during pivotal points of transition in the city’s contemporary art sector. Both were curators at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos and have worked consistently with some of the city’s leading artists and institutions. I’m excited that the three curators have decided to focus on the intersections of art, architecture, and urbanism for the 2019 edition. Through this focus, the second edition of the biennial is poised to engage pertinent socioeconomic and political issues stemming from the astonishing shifts in the city’s spatial elaboration over the past two decades. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they develop,” Oshun notes.
The three curators were formally introduced to the Lagosian public on Saturday, November 3, 2018 during a kick-off event attended by the press and members of the city’s arts community; the event was held at the Omenka Gallery in Ikoyi, Lagos. As announced at the outset by Oyinda Fakeye, the biennial’s project manager, the convening was designed to allow the curators to introduce preliminary ideas and propositions related to the next edition in order to get feedback from the public early on – prior to consolidating their plans.
The curators will continue to develop the programme for the 2019 edition through the end of the year, before sharing additional details in early 2019. However, they have already landed on a title for the forthcoming edition, How to Build a Lagoon with Just a Bottle of Wine? The title is adapted from the poem, “A Song For Lagos” by the Nigerian writer Akeem Lasisi. During the kick-off event, the curators framed the title as a provocation for artists and the public to meditate on the history and present makeup of the city’s built environment. For the curators, the title conjures the impossible or herculean, which speaks to the city’s “can-do” spirit in the face of seemingly insurmountable social, political, and economic obstacles just as it alludes the nascent state of the biennial itself as a platform.
The Lagos Biennial II 2019 will take place 26 October till 30 November 2019 on Lagos Island.