Emeka Okereke: The Neighbour-Hood Project

Bariga/Somolu, Lagos , Nigeria
03 Mar 2017 - 04 Apr 2017

Emeka Okereke: The Neighbour-Hood Project

Emeka Okereke, I am your blindspot. from the Series: Neighbour-Hood: Bariga, Somolu, Lagos. 2016., via www.emekaokereke.com

The Neighbour-Hood Project is a ‘space-conscious’ photographic intervention whose aim is to set up a communal frame within which the people of Somolu/Bariga community in Mainland Lagos can interact and converse with each other through images. It is a mirroring of the realities of the people back to them, thereby creating a frame for introspection.

Emeka Okereke began photographing Somolu/Bariga as soon as he took up residence at Popoola street. The photographs he makes are of the people and their everyday encounters. Often times, he wanders about meeting people in the neighbourhood, sharing moments and exchanging stories, which eventually leads to photographing them in their immediate preoccupation.

After about 8 months of constantly photographing the community, Emeka Okereke proposes to show the outcome of the images to the people in a public space exhibition that would take place at the Somolu/Bariga Canal, but also in adjoining streets of the two communities. This exhibition is set up to serve as object of discussion and interaction amongst the people. While the images often throw light on the stark realities of both communities, they focus mainly on giving value and dignity to the many ways by which the inhabitants of Somolu/Bariga live on a daily basis. The project proposes a mirror through which the people can direct their gaze inwardly: what is the condition of our lives? How can we become the change we want to see?

This project comes at a critical period of economic crisis and recession in Nigeria – one almost reminiscent of the American great depression of the 1930s. As such, there is a referencing of the works of American photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks and Walker Evans who, under the Farm Security Administration (FSA) project photographed a population of Americans – those who bore the brunt of recession the most – no different from the indigenes of such communities as Bariga and Somolu, especially in the context of Lagos where the severity of the crisis is clouded by the illusion of a new middle class. While the world relish the image of a flambouyant Lagos Island, with slogans such as « local content, global market », most Lagosians, namely those of the Mainland, are continuously battling under the weight of a failed economy. Yet they thrive.


Organiser: Emeka Okereke Multimedia Studio

With Support from: Goethe Institute Lagos, Invisible Borders Trans-African Project.

Find out more & follow the project at: emekaokereke.com/neighbourhoodproject