Zanele Muholi, Amphelile, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and LagosPhoto Festival

LagosPhoto Festival presents ‘Memory Palace’

The annual LagosPhoto Festival presents its twelfth edition entitled “Memory Palace” which explores human relationships with memory and the generative potential of photography and images to spark the visual intellect and restore decaying and lost memories.

Last year LagosPhoto launched Rapid Response Restitution—Home Museum as an online repository for memory and heritage. This year, we have evolved the conversation from Home Museum to Memory Palace. Memory Palace brings that familial loci of heritage and history into a sharper focus and closer to home. The Memory Palace technique is a memorisation strategy, based on visualisation of familiar spatial environments to recall information. The technique involves recalling to memory a location or physical space that one is exceptionally comfortable or familiar with and in this location attempt to grasp at those visual clues and images that shape memory with an awareness of the fragility of recollection, its fragments and the radioactive decay associated with trying to grasp at memory. As we build our cosmology and familial safe spaces, we begin to restore, restitute, repair lost memories and archives that are stashed away in our individual and collective consciousness. LagosPhoto21 – Memory Palace is experimental and performative in its dissemination with a clear attempt to remediate, restore and reimagine heritage and historiography as it relates to Africa and its diasporas.

LagosPhoto21 delves deeper into the urgent burning and unresolved topic of restitution and the role of photography in addressing its intractability, remediating and accelerating the agency and hopes of repair whether through fantastical story telling— pseudologia fantastica — characterised by the creation of eloquent and interesting stories, sometimes bordering on the fantastic; or grasping at faint memories interspersed with facts and critical fabulation (to borrow the term coined by Saidiya Hartman). To spark this off, we take the cue and begin by delving into our archives by (re)presenting The Afronauts, an iconic body of work by Magnum photographer Cristina de Middel. A project that encapsulates the methodology and philosophy of LagosPhoto whereby personal narratives, critical fabulation and research trumps reportage about the lives of “others”. It is also fitting at this time because LagosPhoto firmly believes that as we gradually emerge from the pandemic syncopated global systems, we emerge into a new timeline that takes its agency in the present moment. All future imaginaries become present realities. Osborne Macharia, Zanele Muholi and Joseph Obanubi are exhibiting artists whose work we believe firmly emerge into this new timeline. Osborne Macharia and Joseph Obanubi represent the very sharp end of the exhibition around futures and we want to bring these futures into the present timeline by assessing the fitness for purpose.

Click here to view the program. LagosPhoto21 will be on view from the 4th of November until the 4th of December 2021.

FEATURED IMAGE: Zanele Muholi, Amphelile, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and LagosPhoto Festival.