George Osodi’s photographic essay, Oil Rich Niger Delta, marks the opening of Raw Material Company in Dakar
21st of April, 2011, marks the date when RAW MATERIAL COMPANY launches a physical art space in Mid Town Dakar, directed by Cameroonian born and Dakar-based exhibition maker and cultural producer, Koyo Kouoh. We are very pleased to inaugurate the space with an exhibition of a photographer whose work lies at the heart of RAW MATERIAL COMPANY’s vision.
Oil Rich Niger Delta
is a body of work that Osodi developed over the course of many years of research in the Niger Delta Region in Nigeria. The work has toured extensively internationally making a stop in Kassel at DOCUMENTA 12 in 2007. This is the first time that Oil Rich Niger Delta
is shown in Senegal. The exhibition consists of 10 selected, printed photographs alongside a projection of the entire portfolio of 200 images.
Nigerian photographer, George Osodi, commenced Oil Rich Niger Delta
-project in 2003 and in the course of the next four years he compiled an expansive body of work. The result is a gripping visual testimony to the situation faced by the people of the Niger Delta.
Osodi’s compassionate but realistic eye catches not only the crudeness of a life enmeshed in a regional tragedy; his pictures also succeed to capture the general beauty of ‘being’ and tell the story of human strength and resilience. His lens is thus not one of pity, but one of utmost respect. Although a sense of right and wrong is present, Osodi’s aesthetic sensitivity and formalistic expertise clearly places this work within an artistic discourse as much as it renders a visual documentation of a humanitarian, political and environmental scandal of fifty years of exploitation and mal governance.
A newspaper accompanies the exhibition with texts by curator Ruth Noack, art historian Frank A. O. Ugiomoh and an introduction by Koyo Kouoh.
A program of talks and events includes press and collector’s previews on April 20, a guided tour with the director on April 23, an artist’s talk on April 26, a panel discussion on May 7 on the paradox of general lack of sufficient supply of energy opposed to the multiple sources that the continent offers.
ABOUT RAW MATERIAL COMPANY
RAW MATERIAL COMPANY
is a center for art, knowledge and society. Since its launch in 2008, it has functioned as a mobile art initiative unfolding within the realms of exhibition making, commissioning, knowledge sharing, and archiving of theory and criticism. It works to foster appreciation and growth of artistic and intellectual creativity in Africa. The underlying rationale of its program is a firm belief in visual arts as a potent tool capable of shifting perspectives, and to ignite engagement for art practice as a viable path for social and political transformation. The program is transdisciplinary and is equally informed by urbanity, literature, film, architecture, politics, fashion, cuisine, and diasporas.
The core of RAW MATERIAL COMPANY
is the resource centre, RAWBASE
, offering a sustained discursive program through artist talks, portfolio review sessions, master classes, symposia, lectures, panel and round table discussions and research presentations. RAWBASE
aims at establishing an extensive library/archive on contemporary art with an emphasis on African and Africa related practices. The facility is directed towards a national as well as an international educational and research audience.
Additional operational tools are RAW Gallery
, a 100 sq m exhibition space, and RAW Residency
, a residential facility for artists, curators and writers specializing in photography, video and art in the public space. La Compagnie
, a roof top bar/restaurant, rounds up the concept of a free space for art practice and critical exchange.
The program of RAW MATERIAL COMPANY
is generously supported by Arts Collaboratory and the Danish Arts Council.
Courtesy Z Photographic, Longcross, England.