Curated by AAF’s founder and director Azu Nwagbogu, and East Wing Artistic Director (Dubai, UAE) Peggy Sue Amison, the 14th edition of the international photography festival will foster a fellowship of dynamic spiritual change and rebirthing of the unimaginable through the theme ‘Ground State – Fellowship Within the Uncanny.’ The festival will present a special solo presentation by artist Omar Viktor Diop curated by Maria Pia Bernardoni.
Meseret Argaw, Bishoftutown, Ethiopia, (part of PostCard Africa), 2022. Courtesy of Meseret Argaw
The African Artists’ Foundation, a non-profit organization and art space based in Lagos announces the new geographical expansion and curatorial vision for the 14th edition of LagosPhoto Festival, an international photography festival taking place from the 28th of October until the 31st of December 31, 2023. This year’s theme, ‘Ground State – Fellowship Within the Uncanny’ will bring together photographic works exploring the present moment and envisioning repair, syncopation, putrefaction, restitution, and restoration. This year’s edition marks the first time in its history that the event will be held beyond Lagos, extending to Cotonou and Ouidah in Benin. This geographical expansion offers a wider audience the opportunity to engage with the powerful works of talented photographers, challenging our own complicity in a culture of desire founded on consumption.
The festival just announced an open call for emerging and established artists around the world working with lens-based media to submit their projects with a submission deadline of June 7, 2023. Additionally, the festival will announce a separate Portfolio Review open call with submissions limited to June 30, 2023, where selected photographers will have the opportunity to participate in sessions during the festival with esteemed judges and panelists, including leading gallerists, publishers, educators, and experts from LagosPhoto Festival partner National Geographic.
Photography has always held a mysterious power. In the past two decades, it has played a significant role in the rise of post-truth ideologies encouraging divisive and tribal societies. The malaise of the twenty-first century presents unsettling possibilities and anxieties surging from dystopian post-covid realities, growing conflicts, and the indelible signs of climate change. Recalcitrant colonial mindsets continue to judge worth through an impossible hierarchy. Efforts to imagine decolonized and sustainable futures have been captured in recurring hierarchies of different entities delivering the same results. As society reaches a Ground State, where everything humanity knows as ‘common sense’ no longer applies, there is an urge to restore, repair and restitute the mysteries of oral histories and aspects vital for survival. For its 2023 edition LagosPhoto Festival invites artists to showcase new perspectives of humanity’s revival and equilibrium through hopeful visions of social, political, environment and spiritual change.
Initiated in 2010, LagosPhoto has since created a community of local and international artists united through contemporary photography encapsulating individual experiences and identities from the African continent. Through an extensive program of exhibitions, workshops, screenings and large-scale outdoor installations, the festival promotes education and reclaims public spaces, engaging local and global audiences with the continent’s historical and contemporary stories narrated through photography.
As in this year’s edition taking place in Benin and Nigeria, the festival’s recurring topics of restitution and cultural heritage have set the tone for groundbreaking programs. In 2020’s ‘Rapid Response Restitution – The Home Museum’, audiences were invited to produce a fast shutter retrieval of their personal and family’s cultural heritage to be presented in an inclusive digital exhibition, sparking an interest and conversation on cultural heritage and a visual intellect amongst citizens. ‘Searching for Prince Adewale Oyenuga’ in 2021 presented a project about a missing suitcase with a historic archive of photos and paintings left in Barcelona and repatriated to Nigeria, highlighting the thematic of restitution. In 2022 ‘Remember Me—Liberated Bodies; Charged Objects’ interrogated the photography’s influence in shaping, archiving, and ordering the stories of communities and individual identities, determining the way the present and future are constructed.
LagosPhoto Festival will be taking place from the 28th of October until the 31st of December, 2023. For more information, please visit LagosPhoto Festival.