Documenting the City: From N’Djamena, Invisible Borders comes to Accra

in Cultural + Heritage/Photoscapes by

The Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project makes its way to Accra this month, leading photographic workshops, screenings and public art exhibitions, starting this week.

‎#IBTchad survives the scorching hot sun. In N'Djamena, Chad. (Photo Credit: Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project, 2013)
‎#IBTchad survives the scorching hot sun. In N’Djamena, Chad. (Photo Credit: Robin Riskin/Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project, 2013)

The Accra Project follows on the heels of a recently completed 12-day visit to N’Djamena, Chad. With the N’Djamena Project last month, Invisible Borders returned to the city after a similar visit two years ago. This time, the workshop’s overall theme was Urban Mutation, which founder and photographer Emeka Okereke refers to as “an attempt by photographers to document the transformation and resulting evolution of the city of N’Djamena – a phenomenon that is in perpetual replication across major cities in Africa.”

In N’Djamena, the Invisible Borders team linked up with the photography collective known as Photo Cam Tchad. They scouted the city, capturing photos based on chosen themes, such as pollution. The shots also captures instances of urban life in N’Djamena’s Farsha district, including the market, where vendors sell radios and electronics, oils, bed mattresses, and more.

The photographic exhibition in N’Djamena showcased images captured in this African city, as well as in others: Khartoum, Addis Ababa and Lagos.

Le Marché de Farcha dans le premier arrondissement [Farcha Market, in the city's first administrative subdivision.] (Photo Credit: Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project, 2013).
Le Marché de Farcha dans le premier arrondissement [Farcha Market, in the city’s first administrative subdivision.] (Photo Credit: Robin Riskin/Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project, 2013).
The exhibition was “very well received” by the public, writes Emeka: “From the feedback we picked up, the audience were able to situate themselves within the reality portrayed by the images,” Emeka writes.

An audience participant confirms this sentiment, expressing his impressions of the exhibition:


The project captures photos in local spaces in these African cities, showcasing the works in exhibitions overseas and far away, but a key piece of the project is returning to these spaces to stir conversation locally, in a space where audience members can recognize their city and gain new understanding and lens with which to view their everyday lives:

“This exhibition in N’Djamena afforded us the opportunity to learn a thing or two about interacting with the public within a specific context. It revealed to us the importance of ‘returning’ to places, the city and people where the actual works were created during the past road trips. The people get to interact and connect with the work on a much more intimate and tactile level. Our preoccupation since the last four years is to understand and arrive at a method of using art as a tangible means of social intervention.

In Tchad we had a glimpse of that possibility: The Invisible Borders Road trip will be loosing a limb if at the end of it all, we do not get to show those work in the context they were made. In as much as it is very important to reach the rest of the world through exhibitions in far-flung places and online interactions, the indispensability of a return to places travelled cannot be over emphasized. This is the so-called building of Networks.”

 

In Accra, the upcoming activities include:

PHOTO EXHIBITION OPENING | Saturday, July 13, 3:00 – 5:00pm

Venue: Nima Roundabout; Reception at St. Kizito School
Exhibition in the public space of Nima Roundabout featuring works from the Invisible Borders Road Trip and by selected Ghanaian photographers.

READ-OUT HANGOUT | Wednesday, July 17, 6:00 – 8:00pm

Venue: W.E.B. Du Bois Centre
Open session featuring readings by participating writers from the Invisible Borders blog as well as from their work produced during the workshop. The evening will be headlined by Chibundu Onuzo, acclaimed author of Spider King’s Daughter (Faber & Faber) and Emmanuel Iduma, author of Farad.

TALK PARTY SCREENING & DISCUSSION | Friday, July 19, 6:00 – 9:00pm

Venue: W.E.B. Du Bois Centre
Invisible Borders teams up with Accra[dot]Alt for an exclusive screening of the Invisible Borders film, projection of photographs from The Accra Project workshops, and panel discussion moderated by ‘the funky professor’ Kobby Graham. Mutombo da Poet and Poetry Asantewa on their spoken word game, DJ breaking it down on the turntables.

WORKSHOPS ON PHOTOGRAPHY, WRITING & FILM MAKING | July 12-20th (for registered participants only)

Venue: W.E.B. Du Bois Centre
Workshops for selected participants in photography, writing, and film-making, including discussions, portfolio reviews, and ‘working the city.’

To learn more about the Invisible Borders photography project, follow them on facebook, twitter, or visit their website.

Note: All photos in this post are provided courtesy of Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project. Feature photo: Jumoke Sanwo, Invisible Borders, Farcha Market, N’Djamena, Chad (Photo Credit: Robin Riskin/Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project, 2013). 

Tchadian youth came to the Institut Français for a program and couldn't help stopping to see the exhibition in preview/Les jeunes tchadiens sont venus à l'institut français pour une programme et n'ont pas pu s'arretés de voir l'expo en prevue. (Photo Credit: Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project, 2013).
Tchadian youth came to the Institut Français for a program and couldn’t help stopping to see the exhibition in preview/Les jeunes tchadiens sont venus à l’institut français pour une programme et n’ont pas pu s’arretés de voir l’expo en prevue. (Photo Credit: Robin Riskin/Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project, 2013).