Àsìkò 2014: “A History of Contemporary Art in Dakar in 5 Weeks” Programme

5th May – 8th June 2014

The programme is developing well with an exciting roster of lead faculty and invited guests including Afro-Brazilian artist Rosana Paulino, Nigerian sound artist Emeka Ogboh, art historians Tamar Garb, Moyo Okediji,  Olu Oguibe, curators Aura Seikkula, Virginie Bobin, cultural critic and filmmaker Nana Offoriata and of course the Global Crit Clinic group artists Kianga Ford, Karyn Olivier and Stephanie Cardon.

Additionally there will be a morning seminar on “Future(s) of Cohabitation” in collaboration with Manifesta Journal with participants: such as John Akomfrah, Bouchra Ouizguen, as well as a workshop on “Voice as Laboratory of Hybridity” with a screening program followed by discussion, led by Virginie Bobin.

We will be updating this page as the 2014 programme takes shape! Stay tuned.


History/ Matter International Art Progrmme                                                  

1st- 27th May 2012                                                                                                          

Center for Contemporary Art Lagos.

On Tuesday the 1st of May the Center for Contemporary Art Lagos began its second international art programme, with artists and curators from different continents facilitating the programme at different times.

The four weeks intensive program constituted of frequent artist presentations, professional development, screenings, excursion, visits to galleries and exhibitions, art and curatorial projects, series of lectures, portfolio reviews and group crits, research, and many discussions.

This year the CCA made the programme open to curators as well as artists, as these two groups of people will always meet from time to time in their careers. Therefore it was important that the artists grasp a full understanding of the role of curators and vice versa and begin to learn how to work together.

In total there were 10 participants in all, 9 artists and 1 curator.

We also had two observers Silas Matope curatorial assistant from the National  Gallery of Zimbabwe and Adwoa Admoah from the Foundation for Contemporary Art Accra.

Week 1

The week kicked off with an orientation programme and a proposal review with curator Bisi Silva. Artist Emeka Ogboh also gave a talk on his artistic practice and discussed with the participants on video art.

Library Orientation with Bisi Silva (Photo by Taiye Idahor)
Emeka Ogboh giving a talk

Curators Bisi Silva and Jabu Pereira (who was one of the participants), also talked and shared on their curatorial and research interest.

Curators Bisi Silva and Jabu Pereira talk on their curatorial research interests 

On Thursday the participants made a trip to Oshogbo where they visited the Oshogbo sacred grooves and shrines, as well as Susanne Wenger’s house where they had one on one contact with the late artist home, family and personal belongings.

At Susanne’s house (Photo by Taiye Idahor)
One of the shrines in the sacred grooves

The following day after a night of cultural performances and wonderful food at Nike’s guest house, we made a visit to the Nike Art center where the participants learnt about the art of tie-dye and batik and even tried it out for them selves.

Participants learning tie-dye (Photo by Taiye Idahor)
Dinner followed by a beautiful Cultural Display at the guest house (Photo by Tyna Adebowale)

To end the week, artist and activist Jelili Atiku gave a presentation on his work and career. Mr Atiku then led a discussion with the participants on the outcome of the trip to Oshogbo with his rich knowledge of Yoruba culture and history.


 Jelili Atiku giving a talk (Photo by Taiye Idahor)

More images on the trip to Oshogbo can be found in the photo gallery.



On the second week of the programme, Amilkar Parker an artist from Brazil joined the programme as the facilitator of the week. The week consisted of artist presentations, library projects, one on one sessions with the participants and much research time.

                                                                                                                                 Amilkar’s discussions

In the course of the week, Tessa Jackson a curator from the UK joined the programme partaking in talks and discussions, one on sessions with the participants  and also gave a presentation on her curatorial practice.

Tessa Jackson gives a talk on her curatorial practice whilst discussing with the participants.

And by Friday we were joined by artists Koffi Sertorji and Simone Leigh who assisted to facilitate the final projects of the week led by Amilcar parker.

Amilcar’s library project 

To end week 3 on Saturday, artist Kofi Sertodji gave a talk on his artistic career and also spoke on the Nubuke foundation which he runs in Accra.

Kofi Sertodji giving a talk



This week was a busy one with a number of trips to different markets within the Lagos metropolis and discussions with artist, Simone leigh who was the facilitator for the week. 

Simone Leigh with the participants                                                                                                                  Simone Leigh with the participants

Amidst all the market trips, there were interactive discussions and art projects by the participants as well as lectures by artists and photographers Tam Fiofori, Pa Okhai Ojeikere, El Anatsui and curator Simon Njami.

Tam Fiofori talking with the participants on his work (Photo by Adebowale Tina)
 Pa Ojeikere talking on his practice.

The recently released ART 21 video on Change that featured Nigeria based artist El Anatsui was also screened for public viewing during the week and we were most honoured to have him join us watch the film and he also answered questions from the audience on his career and on other issues and topics.

El Anatsui’s Discussion (Photo by Jude Anogwih)

On Saturday, CCA Lagos in collaboration with Goethe Institute hosted a special guest lecturer by internationally renowned Paris based Cameroonian Curator Simon Njami, as part of the 2nd International Art Programme, History/Matter, where he talked on Curating African Art in a Global Context.

Cross section of the audience with Goethe Lagos Director Marc-Andre Schmachtel ( Photos by Thabiso Sekgala)



This week we are joined by Kianga ford that facilitates a critique clinic called the Global Crit Clinic. The Global Crit Clinic ran its pilot program in Lagos last year in collaboration with The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos. The critique clinic is initiated by Parsons The New School for Design. The clinics serve international communities where emerging fine artists have limited access to rigorous idea-based dialogue. These clinics are site responsive and adaptable to the framework of their individual locations. The program is based on the Fine Arts pedagogical studio critique, which is typically a group conversation between an advanced professional in the field and an emerging artist in the presence of their peers. Differing from the curatorial studio visit, whose aim is to select work for exhibition, the objective of a teaching studio critique is to offer advice specifically germane to each artist’s practice and trajectory, based on an understanding of a range of their work. The critique sessions themselves are being used as a structure to enable a rigorous dialogue to emerge between artists. This intensive program offers emerging artists a concentrated experience for developing the tools and facilities to translate their studio work and the supporting ideas into language with which they can leverage a wide range opportunities across the international professional community.

Kianga ford with the participants

In between the critiques were very interesting and engaging talks by artist and curator Candice Breitz and Dan Leers.

l-r Dan Leers  and Candice Breitz during their presentations.

Also the latest Art 21 Video on Historywas screened and in between viewing, the participants discussed with the facilitator and Bisi Silva on their thoughts about each artist in the video within the content of history in relation to their career/ work.

Art 21 Video Screening

There were also one on one sessions with the facilitator Kianga Ford and and curator Bisi Silva. Towards the end of the week proved busy for the participants with discussions, planning and research, as they prepared for their closing exhibition which was curated by Jabu periera, one of the participants.

Planning in progress towards final exhibition
Preparations towards final exhibition in full gear
Kelani Abass at work

The week and month long workshop ended with an exhibition themed Live Constructions.Time.Form.Daily The individual and collective summations attempt to challenge the hegemony of the art object so as to engage with the idea of the ‘dematerialisation’ of the artwork.  In order to achieve this, the curatorial premise focused less on the works that have been created during the programme but the presentation through a series of different formats of the ideas that were formed as a result of History Matter.  The result is Live Constructions. Time. Form. Daily. Live Constructions.Time.Form.Daily is a series of integrated artists’ interventions which respond to the past four weeks of engagements and is presented as one work in four curated segments. The Dissemination of Information   In this work, which was a Live Talk and Performance piece, Mthabisi Phili and Jacqui Karuti are the news anchors for the programme. This reenactment of a newsroom, reported on the History/Matter international programme.


The Record is Fact?

An ongoing performance with the audience The typewriter was invented in 1808 by Pellogrino Turri.  It has almost become obsolete since the introduction of more advanced forms of recording text. The Record is Fact? Is a question posed by the artists at the residency.  This question is a call from the artists to probe a far deeper meaning and interpretation to the notion of text as fact.  Text creates authority and authority should always be transparent and open to questioning?   Using an “old” typewriter, the artists tape together a series of blank sheets.  The paper becomes a canvas and the audience and the artists are invited to type their views on history and materiality.   The ribbon of the typewriter will be removed after the final text.  The final chapter and view will have been written by the end of the reception.


Articulation: Video The Artist Collective, CCA 2012 Lagos was consumed, appropriated and so integral in the month long programme. Articulation is a collective collaboration. Here the artists, place a camera and a chair inside the CCA library.  Each artist responds to two questions:  these two questions are extrapolated from the Simon Njami seminar and the daily search for food around the CCA space. Where is there? On the Global and Local. How do you immerse yourself in food without pepper?


The Witness has Spoken: Sound Amilcar Parker a performance artist facilitated a group walk about the streets of Sabo. In this walk about, the group has to take individual observational notes of what they saw and observed.  The group gathered back in the space and collectively read their notes.  At times in historical moments, we have conflicting records of historical events.  This muddled and collective tone, presents this tension that witnesses can have multiple accounts of the same scenes.

The History matter international art programme indeed was a success and we look forward to next year’s. Welcome to our world.


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