Archive Uniting Nations through Photography by Tina Armstrong-Ogbonna

Uniting Nations through Photography by Tina Armstrong-Ogbonna

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 photo (2)Who would have thought that in time to come Photographs and the art of Photography would become a source of unity for continents?

This question was the unofficial theme of the News Conference organized by Goethe-Institute Lagos which held at the German Embassy in Lagos.

Goethe-Institut Lagos with support from the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Lagos will on the 1st of December 2013, host a two-week public conference and photo exhibition on African photography with focus on photography archives from both Nigerian and European Photographers spanning the Pre-colonial era and Post-colonial era, starting on the 1st of December and ending on the 14th of December 2013 across several venues in Lagos.

Speaking at the News conference, Mr. Michael Derus, Consul General for the German Embassy in Lagos, revealed that in 2008, the German Federal Foreign Office created a fund of €20 million strictly for a Cultural Preservation and Exchange Program between Germany and African countries.  According to Mr. Deus so far,  €60,000 had been invested for the coming conference in December while €76,000 had been invested for the Photo exhibition to take place during the two-week conference to hold in Lagos.

Mr. Derus further disclosed that this upcoming event had been in planning for a long time now, and was been sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office as part of its Cultural Preservation and Exchange Program.  Also this was the first ever ground-breaking photo exhibition to be staged in any African country by the Museum Folkwang from Germany. He stated the need for cultural exchanges between continents to foster world peace, citing that Governments of the World ought to take their relationships with one another beyond political and economic gains or purposes as this was the essence of a cultural exchange.

Anne-Lena Michel, the Assistant Custodian (Curator) to the Museum Folkwang, while addressing Journalists at the News Conference said, that the two-week Conference titled The Crossing Archives would feature eminent Art curators, historians and specialists in Visual Arts. Amongst them is renowned Nigerian photographer J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, Bisi Silva, Director Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos and Chika Okeke-Agulu, Art Historian at Princeton University, USA.

Ms. Michel speaking further said the Photo exhibition to be shown during the conference is titled  Voyage Retour and would exhibit vintage images including a video documentary from J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s works, whom she stated was the “star” of the exhibition alongside photographs by Rolf Gillhausen, Robert Lebeck, Germaine Krull, Malick Sidibé and Wolfgang Weber all drawn from the Museum Folkwang’s collection.

She reiterated Mr. Michael Derus’s point of photography as a viable tool for world peace and unity and applaued the Nigerian Government for accomodating such an exhibition to be held at the Federal Government Press Building in Lagos.

In her closing remarks, she mentioned that the photograhs to be shown comprises of artworks by African and European photographers that bear the marks of various socio-political conditions, which influenced their expression which goes as far back as the 1920’s up until the period of decolonization and the transition to independence.

The Goethe-Institute is the cultural Institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with the aim to promoting knowledge of the German language, culture and socio-political life abroad while fostering international cultural cooperation through its network of Goethe-Institutes, Goethe Centres, cultural societies and reading rooms.

With this conference and exhibition, it is hoped that Nigeria will be seen as the focal point of global unity through photographic Art.

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