For 46 days in 2016, Invisible Borders – a group of creatives – traveled across Nigeria documenting their experiences on the road through several means including photography and writing. The aim of the road trip was to map diversity across regions, states and ethnic formations in post-colonial Nigeria. During this trip, these artists interrogated both the elusive and apparent borders within the country years after the amalgamation of its Northern and Southern Protectorates.
Once again, this year, Invisible Borders embarks on this remarkable journey. New year, new route. They are attempting to finish the important work they started last year as they attempt to draw a map “that is at once historical and contemporary while elucidating the ambiguities of what it means to be Nigerian”.
With more than 200 distinct tribes, Nigeria is an entity with multiple histories haunted by British artificial constructs.
“But now, in a period of intense economic recession, political instability, violence, corruption and an unfettered health crisis, is there a distance between what is shared and what is privately owned?” This is one of the important questions Invisible Borders seeks answers to.
Participants such as photographers, film-makers and writers will, during the six-week road trip, produce images and text that reflect impressionistic, yet critical readings of contemporary Nigeria. They will seek answers to various questions in their sojourn. Who am I in relation to the artificial map? How am I a product of what I have been inevitably named? How do I interact across the several visible and invisible borders I confront as a Nigerian?
Now in its fifth edition, tradition continues during this artistic road trip intervention established by Invisible Borders. Artists will travel together in the same vehicle, all the while living, working and interacting with each other. 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 continue to shape a contemporary Nigerian identity.
Every participant 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 7,000 words), while photographers will be required to produce at least an encompassing body of work from the trip.
In addition, Invisible Borders will present several 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.
This year, the project is funded by the “Von-Brochowski-Süd-Nord-Stiftung”. Also, supporting the project are Epidalert, CCA Lagos and Canon. Canon’s CEO said of their supporting the project: “Our partnership with the ‘Borders Within II’ project is an affirmation of our vision and commitment to developing, nurturing and supporting talent in Nigeria and throughout Africa.”
Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA,Lagos)
Media and Institution Partners:
The Fortunate Traveller
For more information or to follow the journey visit: www.borders-within.com.
Want to help in any way especially with information on the cities in the itinerary? Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com