On 1 January 2012, the Federal Government of Nigeria eliminated government subsidies intended to keep petrol prices at an affordable rate—especially for many of the country’s disadvantaged citizens, who regarded such subsidies as their only benefit from the country’s oil wealth. The subsequent 116% overnight increase in the price of petrol prompted the Nigerian Labour and Trade Unions and other civil organisations, on 9 January 2012, to initiate a nationwide strike. The week started off with small pockets of unrest and moderate demonstrations that gradually gave way to full-fledged civil resistance throughout the nation. This movement, in consonance with other ‘Occupy’ protest demonstrations around the world, can be seen in light of a variety of issues that currently plague the nation—foremost among them being the country’s stagnant economy, its dilapidated transport, education and health infrastructure, and the ever-present parasitic forms of political and economic corruption.
Within this context, CCA, Lagos initiated an open-ended programme to discursively engage the nation’s current state of affairs, the mechanisms underpinning Occupy Nigeria as well as the movement’s immediate impact and potential long-term effects. The inaugural event ON #1 occurred on 28 January 2012 with a presentation of photography projections featuring work by Uche James-Iroha, Abraham Oghobase, Andrew Esiebo and Victor Ehikhamenor. Sound and video artist Emeka Ogboh unveiled a project featuring 250, of approximately 5000 Twitter messages he archived amidst the demonstrations, while the performance artist Jelili Atiku presented the initial iteration of a time-capsule project featuring protest ephemera, as well as a performance work. Also included were contributions by the artists Chinwe Uwatse, Aderemi Adegbite, Jide Odukoya and Chris Okonkwo.
The event was complimented by a dynamic open forum/panel discussion featuring the geologist and cultural activist Toyin Akinosho, lawyer Jide Bello, writer Toni Kan, and actress Joke Silva. The forum placed a particular emphasis on engaging the novel presence of online activism and the role of social media in the recent chain of events, as well as issues concerning citizenship, ethics, and the arts.
Occupy Nigeria was/is developed and organised by Bisi Silva, Curator, and Jude Anogwih, Artist/Curator, CCA, Lagos.
Kader Attia’s Oil and Sugar #2
28 January–4 February 2012
On the occasion of the Occupy Nigeria forum, CCA, Lagos has the pleasure of presenting a video work by the Algerian artist Kader Attia. A single screen projection, Attia’s Oil and Sugar #2 (2007) is an evocative four and half minute video work portraying the interplay of two raw materials: oil and sugar. Replete with allusions to ephemerality, destruction and transformation, Attia’s video, and the material substances with which it engages, elicits timely associations with colonial and imperial legacies and their residual effects on the present.
Born in 1970 in Dugny, France to parents of Algerian origin, Attia studied philosophy and art in Paris and Barcelona before spending two years doing national civil service in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (2003), Lyon Biennial (2005), and the Bamako Biennale (2009). He lives and works in Berlin and Algiers.
Kader Attia’s Oil and Sugar #2 is organised by Jude Anogwih.
Occupy Nigeria replaces our scheduled exhibition programme Contested Terrains which was initially planned to tour to Lagos (21 January–3 March 2012) after its first showing at Tate Modern, London in 2011.