Inventer-le-monde :
l'artiste citoyen
Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project, "Invisible Borders Project 2011 & 2012," 2011 & 2012.

Thursday 6 December 2012

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Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project,
Invisible Borders 2011 - The Film,
Directed by Emeka Okereke and featuring IB participants: Ray Daniels Okeugo, Amaize Ojeikere, Uche Okpa Iroha, Tom Saater, Unoma Geise, Chidinma Nnorom, Kemi Akin-Nibosun, Jumoke Sanwo, Ala Kheir, Emmanuel Iduma, Nana Oforiatta-Ayim, Lucy Azubuike, Emeka Okereke,
2011,
45 min,
Courtesy of Invisible Borders Trans-African Photographers Organisation.

Invisible Borders 2012 - The Film,
Directed by Gloyer Evita Matala and featuring artists: Lilian Novo Isioro, Emmanuel Iduma, Jide Odukoya, Mario Macilau, Lesedi Mogoathle, Gloyer Matala Evita, Ray Daniels Okeugo, Emeka Okereke,
2012,
30 min,
Courtesy of Invisible Borders Trans-African Photographers Organisation.

Trans-African Photographic Project is a project founded on the reciprocal transformation of society and art and on the capacity of Africans to be the narrators of their own history. The keystone is the annual road trip that invites a group of artists to rediscover the continent. The project was initiated by Emeka Okereke, a Nigerian photographer whose practice is at once conceptual and documentary. These two dimensions have also informed the project Invisible Borders since its creation in 2009.

For Trans-African artists, inventing the world signifies re-appropriating a territory and a language. The 2011 edition connected Lagos and Addis-Ababa via Chad and Sudan. Two writers and five photographers and videographers from Nigeria, Sudan, and Ghana participated. Geographic displacement provided a pretext for displacing the imaginary: the road allows for apprehending spaces in their continuity, for finding common ground between different societies. The voyage’s central theme is the artist dialogue that weaves together the travelers with the artists and institutions that house them.

With the website that collects the archives, photographs, and videos of the project, the road trip’s reinvention of real space finds its extension in virtual space. The aesthetic dimension of the images is inseparable from their political dimension. The photographs thwart clichés of exoticism by showing an Africa in movement, as captured by photographers who are themselves moving. The light camerawork in the videos draws on direct cinema, like notebooks for the artists but also as expressive tools for those met along the way. Africa becomes a living material, one that is continuously re-invented. As Emeka Okereke writes in the 2011 road trip video: “The Trans-African artists are not looking to define Africa from their own Africanity, because Africa is why that make of it and not the reverse.” Documentary form is adopted in the collective’s contribution, in the image of a practice that testifies to the experiences of travel and encounter. The films document the collective’s journey along the roads of many African countries, crossing territorial borders, organizing artist studios, and producing images of their own crossings.

P.R.