Over the past five years, the Invisible Borders Trans-African Project has focused on promoting Trans-African exchange across countries in Africa through various artistic interventions of which the most prominent is the Trans-African Road Trips. The latest edition was the 141-day Road Trip from Lagos, Nigeria to Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
This year, they continue in the same tradition, but instead will be looking at the BORDERS WITHIN. Their next road trip will focus on Nigeria. From May 12 to June 26, 2016, a team of 9 participants (7 artists and 2 administrators) will travel by road across 14 states in all regions of Nigeria. The aim of the project is to engage in the conversation about diversity, making an attempt to offer a map of it, across regions, states and ethnic formation in what we know as Nigeria today.
Photographers, film makers and writers invited to participate in the six-week road trip will undertake to produce images and text that reflect impressionistic, yet critical readings of contemporary Nigeria.
The central questions to be reflected in the works produced would be: Who am I in relation to Nigeria as we know it? How am I product of what I have been inevitably named? How do I interact across the several visible and invisible borders I confront as a Nigerian? While the artists are expected to employ a subjective gaze to the exploration of these questions, their work will focus primarily on reflecting the voices of individuals – the average Nigerian.
This project follows in the tradition of the artistic road trip intervention established by Invisible Borders in the course of five editions. This implies that the artists will travel together, in the same vehicle, all the while living, working and interacting with one another. The route will be fluid, allowing for detours but equally encompassing. Beginning in and returning to Lagos, the artists will move circularly through several Nigerian cities and towns whose history shaped and continues to shape a contemporary Nigerian identity.
Every participating artist will be tasked with developing one major body of work as a follow-up to the trip. Writers will be required to produce long travel essays (of up to 7000 words), while photographers will be required to produce at least an encompassing body of work from the trip.
In addition, Invisible Borders will present short, personal narratives by residents of the towns and cities en-route, with the aim of creating a crowd-sourced narrative of contemporary Nigeria. The narratives, combined, will be made into a lengthy documentary film. Loose and non-linear, the film will underscore the improbability of reducing Nigeria to a single voice or way of telling.
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