MFA Ohiri Karl ja työryhmä (Lagos Studio Archives)

173000 €

Lagos Studio Archives: Endangered Archives and the Cross-pollination between Art and Preservation

Taiteellinen työ / siihen pohjautuva työ | Kaksivuotinen

Our cultural heritage forms the DNA of who we are. It tells the story of our past, present and possible futures. So, what would you do if you witnessed it being destroyed? Lagos Studio Archives is a bold project that grapples with this reality. The starting point of this ambitious project was in 2015 when Karl Ohiri discovered that photographic archives from his native homeland in Nigeria were being destroyed, discarded and stored away in humid conditions by a generation of photographers who were part of a shift from analogue to digital photography. Working with local photographers, he started acquiring the endangered negatives in an attempt to ensure that this precious cultural heritage was not lost over time. The growing collection consists of thousands of negatives documenting studio portraiture and vernacular photography from the 1970s to post millennium capturing the style, humour and aspirations of everyday Lagosians. Since its inception photography has had the ability to migrate across national borders, historical periods and different media creating new interpretations in each location. With the archive migrating from Lagos to London and now in Helsinki, we ask, what new meanings will emerge from its relocation? The main aims of the project are to preserve, present and create cross-border collaborations that contribute to new narratives on West African photography and the legacies of the diaspora, adding to the void of representation present within art history. We plan to preserve and digitise the negatives to create an image library making the work accessible for academics, writers, curators and the general public across the world. Through the manifestation of appropriated works, curated exhibitions, talks and publications we aim to recontextualise and reposition the imagery of photographers that would have gone unnoticed without intervention, creating critical dialogues and cultural exchange through the sharing of knowledge and histories.