Saturday, 19 September 2009
THE Nigerian Photography collective, Black Box, which emerged after a workshop in Ajegunle, FootballWorlds, organised by the Goethe Institut, Lagos and conducted by Berlin-based Akinbode Akinbiyi in March, 2006, was at the 10th Havana Biennial, which held earlier in the year. The biennial brought together more than 200 artists from 43 countries, majority of whom were from Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the middle East, and to a lesser extent from North America, Europe and Australia, who exhibited their works and projects in different colonial buildings of the Historical centre and cultural centres, as well as in fairgrounds in modern zones of the city capital. The seven members of Black Box, Mary Kasim, Abraham Oghobase, Uche Okpa-Iroha, Adeniyi Odeleye, Charles Ologeh, Andrew Esiebo and Chiemela Azurunwa, each with his or her own approach to work, style and going out into the open spaces to find visual path. Themed Integration and Resistance in The Global Era, the biennial celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding. It also paid tributes to several artists, who had contributed to the strength and development of expressions in different regions of the world such as Leon Ferrari, Fernell Franco, Antonio Ole, Sue Williamson, Wilfredo Lam and Raul Martinez. THE way in which artists approach the issue of integrating to a global world in construction – which becomes highly complex due to the peculiarities of so many societies and cultures, on one hand, and the way in which they, in turn try to resist the hegemonic trends that strive to homogenise from other territories the repertoire of ideas and forms, on the other — was the central axis for the projects and works in the Biennial. Without pretending to offer solutions or answers to a reality that day after day reveals the complexity of its network from different angles and perspective, the Havana Biennial sought to reflect on such interesting phenomenon that has not lost applicability nor current importance, and which was one of the main cornerstones of the debate on the identity of individuals, groups, communities, countries and religion. As in previous editions, one of the attractions of the Biennial was to come in contact with the diversity of contemporary Cuban art through the extensive network of galleries in Havana by means of solo and group exhibitions, multidisciplinary projects and actions. In moments of expansion of what has been called “New Cuban Art” by different theorists and critics from the continent.