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FORMAT Photoforum: The Cultural Evolution Artists with Azu Nwagbogu

25 May 2022
QUAD Gallery
Image credit: QUAD Gallery by Emily Jones

Wednesday 25 May 6:00 - 8:00pm, on Zoom

Click here to book your free ticket via Eventbrite

About this event

As part of FORMAT’s on-going Photoforum talks series, we are pleased to present this live talk featuring The Cultural Evolution: Identity, Performance and Fashion artists Bonolo Kavula, Lunga Ntila, Silvia Rosi and Stephen Tayo.

These four internationally renowned artists (along with Adji Dieye who is unable to join) are all exhibiting their work in The Cultural Evolution: Identity, Performance and Fashion exhibition in QUAD Gallery as part of FORMAT22 Presents. They will be joined in the talk with exhibition curator Azu Nwagbogu (Director, Lagos Photo and African Artists’ Foundation). The talk will focus on key themes in each artists works relating to the exhibitions title (Identity - Performance - Fashion), and that can be explored in the text below:

The Cultural Evolution: Identity, Performance and Fashion is an exhibition evolving from the utopic manifestations of Afro-Futurist imaginary into a more benevolent performative reflection on the major challenges of our age—the Anthropocene and the role artists play in mediating cultural narratives for those hidden narratives and others left behind. It is contemplative and performative in its manifestation.

Time spent alone has allowed for further interrogation of the self and the photographers included in this exhibition have captured some of this essence.

For artists working in relation to Africa and its diaspora, we have witnessed an accentuation of a sense of self-reflexivity that interrogates the artificiality of the realisation of notions of identity and the agency that comes with it.

Stephen Tayo, Silvia Rosi, Bonolo Kavula, Adji Dieye and Lunga Ntila all push the limits of identity. For them identity is a series of narratives of self. Identity is just a set of narratives that we tell ourselves about ourselves.

In the exhibition not only do they introduce us to metaphysical notions about an evolving notion of identity, they expand or discard with linear forms of narrative. A story is not compulsory, just a life. They share a part of their lives that is open ended.

This exhibition and the idea behind it has been three years in the making. The artists exhibited in The Cultural Evolution all demonstrate an awareness of the rapidly changing cultural landscape and the need to insert themselves across various aspects and genres of the rapidly transforming visual cultural scene.

Each artist has produced a work that is as much themselves as metaphorically possible in a self-reflexive sense. There is a new visual language forming and they are very literate in reading the visual cues and ideas produced by their works.