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Lagos Peckham Repeat: Pilgrimage to The Lakes (2023)

South London Gallery

Curatorial Text by Folakunle Oshun


In his 1993 publication The Black Atlantic, Paul Gilroy discusses the theory of double consciousness, initially formulated by W.E.B. Dubois in Souls of Black Folk (1903). Notions of identity and belonging usually call up monolithic geographies that can be imagined as origins, yet this migratory loop premised on slavery creates other forms of belonging. In an attempt to capture this double consciousness—the plurality of place and the rationale behind post-independence migration by Nigerian migrants—the exhibition Lagos, Peckham, Repeat: Pilgrimage to the Lakes will focus on the experiences of selected Nigerian artists whose practice have been shaped by their journeys away from home and back again. The exhibition explores the idea of ‘pilgrimage’ as a journey to fulfill a specific ritual or intention; in this case, a quest to find and make a new home—temporising the need for return—but equally initiating a cycle of sojourns. A keen focus will also be placed on the totems and talismans carried along to reenact the familiar.


Initially named  Èkó, a war camp of the Benin empire, and later christened Lagos in the 18th century by Portuguese explorers after a coastal city in the south of Portugal, Lagos would continue to establish itself as a West African trade Mecca as it had for centuries.1 This unique status can be directly linked to its privileged geography and access to the Atlantic. It may well be impossible to write about Lagos without referencing the all-too-familiar sentiment formulated by Rem Koolhaas, who described Lagos as “the ultimate dysfunctional city.” While considering whether to own or disown this dysfunctionality, it is critical to track down and evaluate the historical antecedents responsible for the city’s character. In this exhibition, the overriding intention beyond depicting Lagos, is to portray the Nigerian migrant community in a factual but empowering fashion. There is no better image to illustrate this empowerment than the film still from Adeyemi Micheal’s Entitled (2018), which portrays his mother in full Yoruba traditional attire, majestically seated on a stallion in Peckham. The backdrop of this image could be mistaken for the streets of Lagos as it bears the same familiar chaotic charm.2 To lend a thought from Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi's deconstruction of the eccentric character of Lagos in the curatorial text for Emeke Ogboh’s solo exhibition Lagos Soundscapes at Gallery Iman Fares in 2019, he suggests that Lagos, though comparable to other cities, is unique in its disorderly functionality: 


As such, aspects of Lagos can be found in many global cities, from Cape Town to Doula, Cairo to Kinshasa, London to Berlin, New York to Shanghai, New Delhi to Sao Paulo. Nevertheless, it is plausible to suggest that Lagos’s conundrum of chaos and order is unique to it and cannot be found elsewhere. (Nzewi, 2019).3


 It is this unparalleled mix of chaos and order that we seek to extoll, unravel, and distill in Lagos Peckham Repeat: Pilgrimage To The Lakes, which curiously juxtaposes a megacity with a migrant neighbourhood that was historically referred to as a village (Robert Hewison, 2022, p.14). Adopting the age-old algebraic formula of the simultaneous equation, we hope to explore potential variables to seek out a constant. Lagos Soundscapes by Emeka Ogboh is also shown in the exhibition Lagos Peckham Repeat: Pilgrimage to the Lakes. This rendition of the installation will include a constellation of beer crates designed by the artists and also a Lagos-themed beer titled No Food For Lazy Man in collaboration with Orbit, a craft beer brewery in Peckham. 



1 Lucumi Terranova and the Origins of the Black Nation.  Henry B. Lovejoy, Olatunji Ojo p56. The Journal of African History.

2 See also Bobo Omotayo, London Life Lagos Living (2011)  “A Collection of Short Lagos-life Observations Turned Stories.”


Considering insights premised on personal encounters with the Lagos’ stifling yet enchanting embrace, it is easy to forget why Lagos is Lagos and what makes it tick. Situated on a historic pre-colonial trade route, Lagos became Nigeria’s first port for the British colonial enterprise, establishing its fame as the commercial nerve point of the most populous black country. Though a new colonial order was in place in the 19th century to dictate a totally different modus operandi in the organizational structure of governance and tax collection, Lagos held on to its old ways of informal taxes, which even the British colonial lords could not crack. To this day, Lagos remains one massive tollgate, with informal tax collectors known as agberos stationed at most bus stops to physically and often violently extract daily taxes from commercial bus conductors. This subtle description does not hold a candle to the intricacies that uphold this membrane which majestically floats on the surface of the lagoon and somehow refuses to sink.3


A walk through the Peckham locale gives you a sense of why this miniature version of Lagos has built a reputation for itself as one of London’s most culturally charged neighbourhoods. Gentrified as it may seem, its crevices and alleys filled with street food and predominantly Indian-owned African shops still give the vibe, smell, and taste of quintessential Lagos. Though it is generally impossible to equate the architectural and urban landscape of Lagos—which remains a cacophony of colonial, non-aligned, and tropical urbanist design influences—to that of Peckham, we must conclude that the dense social texture of Peckham, considering its visual, sonic and linguistic aesthetic characteristics, are drawn from the same lake. 


As we assess the similarities between these two geographies and the cultural contexts that connect them, it becomes expedient to address the circumstances that birthed the mass exodus of citizens of a newly found state to different corners of the world filled with uncertainties and unfriendly weather. In reassessing the gaze on this new-found state of independence, which was first experienced in West Africa by Ghana in 1957, and later by Nigeria in 1960, it is necessary to evaluate the notion of independence in both its poetic and literal forms. A first step would be, for a quick moment, to substitute the term ‘post-coloniality’ with ‘post-independence,’ the latter asserting the constitutionality and sovereignty of independence and taking responsibility for over half a century of self-governance.4  In the opening pages of African Modernism - The Architecture of Independence, Manuel Herz expounds on this conferred version of independence, questioning the very nature of independence that is granted overnight. He ponders on the immediacy involved in conferring independence and the state of a country before and after its “Independence Day” (Herz, 2015, p.6).5 The second step would be to vehemently reject any ethnographic gaze on the historical documentation and contemporary life of Nigerians. This exhibition undoubtedly holds a mirror to that gaze.



4 See the poem  A Song for Lagos by Akeem Lasisi. Main thematic reference for Lagos Biennial 2019 How To Build A Lagoon With Just A Bottle of Wine. Curated by Antawan Byrd, Oyindamola Fakeye, and Tosin Oshinowo.

4 Beginning with Ghana, all West African countries attained independence between 1957 and 1974.

5 African Modernism - The Architecture of Independence is a publication and exhibition project by Manuel Herz, which opened at the Vitra Museum Gallery from Feb 20 - May 31, 2015.

Following a bloody military coup in 1966, with barely enough time for the realisation of the new-found independence to crystallise, it became clear to Nigerians that this new state of self-governance would not be as great an experience as advertised. On the other end of the spectrum, Nigeria was swimming in wealth from crude oil, which had recently been discovered in commercial quantities a few years prior to independence. This new situation of deep uncertainties in the political sphere, coupled with dwindling living standards, gave way to the initial post-independence thrust of migration of Nigerians to the United Kingdom, the United States, and other parts of the world. 


In 2005, Nigerian superstar D’Banj released the smash hit ‘Mo Bo Lowo Won’ under Mo’ Hits Records. Mo Bo Lowo Won, with a literal translation as ‘I escaped from them’ in Yoruba, details the motions of how an internet fraudster miraculously escapes from the London Metropolitan Police.6 Setting aside Ayo Shonaiya’s debut film King of My Country (1996), this was the first time any Nigerian artist would, on a world stage, graphically detail a lifestyle of fraud in the UK. It is of utmost importance, though, to note that this was not always the case. The first wave of Nigerians to populate the United Kingdom and the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s were mostly students who came to advance their academic pursuits.7 The dream at this time was to return home with a Master’s degree or, better still, a Ph.D. and take up the positions which ultimately had to be relinquished by British professors in Nigerian universities.


Dwindling scholarships due to government corruption back home, low prospects of a better standard of living in Nigeria, and the incessant spate of military coups in the 1960s and 70s, are just a few of the reasons many first-generation post-independence Nigerian migrants chose to move to and remain in the United Kingdom. It is safe to say that there are factors beyond the realm of beer parlour philosophy that led to the creation and formation of low-cost migrant communities like Peckham in London.8 Passport to Peckham by Robert Hewison, a detailed documentation on the coming-to-be of Peckham and the larger South London commune published in 2022, offers key insights into the history and specificities relating to migrant life in Peckham.


For anyone visiting Peckham for the first time and experiencing a not-so-Victorian part of London, save for probably the architectural detail of the currently dimly lit main exhibition room of the South London Gallery, it may be difficult to imagine what Peckham really looked like before its gradual but consistent recent waves of gentrification. It is also plausible to assume that the African and Caribbean communities, through their dogged pursuit of education and enterprise, have been able to stagger the gentrification in Peckham by buying up vast amounts of real estate. Desmond’s, a sitcom from the late 80s and early 90s, among other themes, gave insights into the odd relations between African and Caribbean migrants in Peckham. The family show, which was aired by Nigerian Television Authority on NTA2 Channel Five, portrayed the stark realities of migrant life in Peckham. A little over thirty years on, the changing landscape of Peckham, now slowly being encroached upon by fancy cafes selling quasi-Berlin standard cappuccinos and Eggs Benedict, may not be able to survive the gentrification and regeneration, which, despite optimistic opinions, to the contrary, seems imminent.


 6 D’Banj ( 2005). Mo Hits Records. Youtube 

 7 See also Beer-Parlor Philosophy, a play by Bode Osanyin, which detailed the shenanigans and wisdom spewed by drunken men in Nigerian beer parlors.  

 8  Jide Olanrewaju (2013). A History of Nigeria. Actualize Production. Youtube   1:43 - 1:47

In exploring the long journey of self-actualization which led the artist Victor Ehikhamenor to seek greener pastures in the United Kingdom in the early 1990s, the artist creates Cathedral of the Mind, an interactive installation that suggests a two-fold spiritual approach to addressing the numerous hurdles involved in the excruciating migration process from Nigeria to the UK, chief of which is securing a UK Visa. A classical facade of a Roman Catholic cathedral draped in prayer rosaries masks a cohort of ibeji twin sculptures on the reverse of the installation. The ibeji twins, which generally are carved as an effigy to symbolise or remember twins, are used in this situation as a direct metaphor to detail the duality and transmutation at the heart of migration. This double reality in harsh situations can come into play upon arrival into the UK, and the migrant is suddenly faced with the stark economic realities of migrant life. Back home in Nigeria, the proverbial “Uncle London” is seen as privileged and enjoying the finer things of life abroad, while his actual life in Britain may not be as palatable. The veracity of this work is reinforced by the imminent exodus of Nigerians to other parts of the world as a response to harsh government policies. Japa, which means to escape permanently, is the new slang young Nigerians use to classify this sojourn.


While the exhibition tracks the antecedents of many of the participating artists, specifically in relation to their genealogy and movement around the world, Diary of a Victorian Dandy (1998) by Yinka Shonibare CBE teleports to a period long before the curatorial framing of the exhibition. Even as we can appreciate the fashion and aesthetic sensibilities of the Victorian age, the artist tactfully creates tension in his composition—tipping the power scale—which in this period was unapologetically imperial. In both photographs on display, we see the artist decked in the same noble regalia as his white counterparts. However, in Rembrandtian fashion, he curiously situates himself as the focal point of both compositions. A similar visual parallel can be drawn to the sixth studio album cover of American rap icon Jay-Z titled The Blueprint—the composition suggests the rapper is giving some instruction to his subordinates. It is clear from the aerial view composition that Jay-Z, a musician from humble beginnings, is the focal point, and he assumes some position of authority. Coincidentally, and thankfully so, the inspiration for this photograph taken by Jonathan Mannion was drawn from a photo series by British photographer Jocelyn Bian Hogg in a photo series titled The Firm, which documents the lives of mobsters in South London.  


To better understand this juxtaposition between the city of Lagos and its miniature counterpart Peckham, it might be helpful to visualise the roads in Peckham as the lagoon and waterways in Lagos. In terms of scale, it would likely take the same amount of time to swim this imaginary waterway in Peckham as it would to cross Lagos by car. Unfortunately, the infamously unpredictable Lagos traffic makes this impossible to calculate accurately. As the commute is made from the South London Gallery to the fire station where the adjoining part of the exhibition is installed, an imaginary body of water emerges in our consciousness, channeling the historic transatlantic connection between both cities; and, of course, with all the atrocities therein. “Peckham is between places absorbed into larger identities, It is not pretty, but has a personality of its own'' (Hewison R., 2022, p.2).9  A visual from Judith Lou Levy’s 2019 award-winning film Atlantics comes to mind when thinking about trans-Atlantic migration.10 Seyi Adelakun’s dye installation at the fire station end of South London Gallery equally highlights this link with water, exploitation, and pollution. In a more ethereal fashion, Temitayo Ogunbiyi imagines the pedestrian routes between Lagos and Peckham with her metal installation titled You Will Find Playgrounds among Palm Trees (2019). Equally, Abdulrazaq Awofeso reflects on the challenges of settling in the United Kingdom as a creative in a multicultural space. His installation attempts to capture the varied characters in society, all striving for the basics of life. Cut out of wooden pallets and representing various identities and backgrounds, Abdulrazaq’s figures are installed under a cloud which the artist suggests is a universal signifier of peace.


9  Peckham was previously bordered in the North by the Surrey Canal.

10  Christopher Obuh’s large-scale prints in the main exhibition room of Lagos Peckham Repeat also tell a tale of a foray into the Atlantic Ocean. The artist began in 2014 to document the construction work on the Eko Atlantic City, a land reclamation project by the Lagos State Government on the coast of Lagos. 


Staying with the metaphor of water, renowned sculptor and artistic powerhouse Ndidi Dike presents in the exhibition an archival inquest into the basis for the Nigerian-British relationship: commerce. Before there ever was a migrant community in Peckham, before there were ever talks of gentrification in this little urban village, and long before there was a Prince of Peckham, there was the Royal Niger Company, a British company extracting and trading palm oil and timber in Nigeria.11 The Royal Niger Company, previously called The National Africa Company, sold its stakes to the British government in 1899 for the sum of £850,000. A short version of this story is that there was growing discontent with the Royal Niger Company in the then-Niger Delta region where it operated. In order to quell these tensions, the company sold its holdings and, effectively, its territory, known today as Nigeria, to the British Government. This company would later rebrand and return as Lever Brothers, now Unilever, to trade in household products and undertake construction projects in Nigeria and West Africa. Ndidi Dike’s installation uses imagery and iconography from this period to make sense of her early years in the UK before moving back to Nigeria. 


Taking another archival turn, British-born Nigerian artist Karl Ohiri brings us down a nostalgic memory lane with a selection of prints and negatives from his self-curated project, Lagos Studio Archives, which depicts the fashion consciousness and style of Nigerians from the 1970s to the post-millennium.12 The negatives, which were first discovered by the artist in Lagos in 2015, bring up three crucial questions—what constitutes an archive? Who owns an archive, and what do we do with an archive? Though speaking about the legitimacy of the State Archive, Achille Mbembe offers some thoughts on the subject: ‘This time of co-ownership, however, rests on a fundamental event: death. Death to the extent that the archived document par excellence is, generally, a document whose author is dead and which, obviously, has been closed for the required period before it can be accessed.’ (Mbembe, 2022, p.22). Mbembe goes further to suggest a spiritual dimension to archiving:


Archiving is a kind of interment, laying something in a coffin, if not to rest, then at least to consign elements of that life which could not be destroyed purely and simply. These elements, removed from time and from life, are assigned to a place and a sepulchre that is perfectly recognisable because it is consecrated: the archives. Assigning them to this place makes it possible to establish an unquestionable authority over them and to tame the violence and cruelty of which the ‘remains’ are capable, especially when these are abandoned to their own devices. (Mbembe, 2022, p.22).


 Staying on the subject of archiving, Onyeka Igwe’s film No Archive Can Restore You 2020 exposes the relics of what used to be the Nigerian film institute and the undertones of a colonial past. Continuing with questioning the internal strife and tribal politics ensconced in Nigerian political history and social life, Chiizi explores what she terms the “quintessential Igbo Diet” The research project, which was produced at the Guest Artist Space in Lagos, takes the posture of an assembled archive as it examines how art can be used as a medium to transmit pre and post-colonial variations of the Igbo diet and how art can be used to communicate its nuances. 

Over and above the harsh truths of colonisation, neo-colonization, and memories of migrant life in this culturally diverse neighbourhood in South London, Lagos Peckham Repeat: Pilgrimage to the Lakes highlights the contributions, significance, and transmuted heritage of the Nigerian community in Peckham, and the United Kingdom at large. If there is just one takeaway from this show, it is that the Nigerian migrant is more than an alien seeking ‘Refuge’;13 the Nigerian migrant is a pilgrim on a journey for a specific reason—and destined to return home.14



11 See also in the exhibition the work of Temitayo Shonibare, which references hairstyles of the ’70s.

12 Prince of Peckham is a popular pub in Peckham.

13 Refuge, theme of Lagos Biennial 2024.

14 Sunny Ade and his Green Spot Band (1971). Ile Labo Sinmi Oko. The Orchard Music (On behalf of African Songs Ltd). Youtube




  1. Gilroy, P. (1993). The Black Atlantic. Harvard University Press and Verso books

  2. Dubois, W.E.B. (1903). Souls of Black Folk. A. C. McClurg & Co.

  3. Nzewi, U.S., & Ogboh E (2019).  Lagos Soundscapes. Kerber Verlag; Galerie Imane Farès

  4. Herz, M. (2015). African Modernity - The Architecture of Independence. Park Books. 

  5.  D’Banj ( 2005). Mo Hits Records. Youtube. 

  6.  Olanrewaju, J. (2013). A History of Nigeria. Actualize Production. Youtube.   1:43 - 1:47

  7. Hewison R., (2022). Passport to Peckham. Goldsmiths Press.

  8. Mbembe, A. (2022). The Power of The Archive and its Limits. In Figuring the Archive. Hamilton, C., Harris, V., Taylor, J., Pickover, M.,  Reid, G., & Reid.S (EDS.), (pp 19-26) Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Systems Disobedience (Cancelled due to COVID Lockdowns) (2020)

Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon

Curatorial Text by Folakunle Oshun


We intend to examine different scenarios and experiences referencing historical antecedents and current happenings within the African context. Our primary objective is to identify possible tangent points that speak to our shared histories and pay homage to various resistance movements, moments, and positions in our histories. This would stand as a valid port of entry and re-examination into pertinent conversations on political antecedents, actions, and their ramifications.


All collaborators on this project intend to explore the multiplicity of systems and machinery that constitute personal and civil disobedience as a vehicle to navigate and survive the constrictions of globalisation and postcolonialism. In this situation, action has to be mitigated, not a theory that needs to be expounded. 


Post-independence Africa has been besieged by neo-colonial rhetoric constantly recited to subtly reinforce the control of Western strongholds over their ex-colonies, thus creating a never-ending loop of regurgitated debates, which situates postcolonial theory as the central arbitrator. Culture has constantly been a scapegoat in perpetuating these atrocities both by way of artistic expression and also through formal and informal pedagogies. 


We are telling personal and borrowed stories of communal solidarity and affirmative action, which reflect our dissatisfaction with and disdain for the current global socio-political state. The question of disobedience, in this instance, is presented as the most natural human response to all forms of subjugation and persecution.  


Coup d'etat


Encumbered with the literality of expression, a necessary evil that comes with working within the African context, it becomes impossible to detail the affirmative resolution embedded in the several situations and scenarios created by the exhibiting artists without a tinge of militancy. This comes without the privilege of debating the ephemeral, a preserve of the privileged, the one who desperately wants to be “the other” in search of salvation. With no other option, like a dog cornered to a wall, it is the moment to turn back and fight, to retell history as it is lived by the persecuted and not as wished by the persecutor.


To properly capture the full extent of these agitations, it is pertinent to revisit the colonial exploits of Western countries in Africa and, in particular, France. Before we question the appropriateness of an invitation to celebrate an entire continent by a single country, we must grasp the relationship between both parties and the undercurrents at play in creating this intimately and infinitely awkward encounter. Unfortunately, detailing the colonial and imperial subjugation of colonial and postcolonial Africa through rhetoric has been accepted as a theory. It is unacceptable to continue to pretend that these atrocities can be celebrated. 


The statements and context of Systems of Disobedience as an entity that flows beyond the exhibition space are configured to mirror the atrocities of colonialism, which will not be glorified in this forum. 


In Victor Ehikamenor’s installation “Do this in Remembrance of Us” 2020, the artist depicts the all too familiar trans-Atlantic slave ship mirrored in its reflection as a battleship ready for war. Ref Romauld Hazoume.


Clear diplomatic, political, and cultural distinctions need to be drawn if we accept that France and other Western ex-colonial powers have learned from past mistakes. It is a fact that other editions of this Season have been dedicated to individual countries; hence, it is disconcerting that clear distinctions within African states and cultures are not being acknowledged. The vocabulary employed in these conversations has to be forgotten and atoned for. And the concept of protectorates, colonies, and a metropolis all have to be jettisoned for our relations to have any semblance of cordiality.  


French Africa and the Illusion of Assimilation

There probably is a psoriatic term to qualify the aspirations of Congolese dandies dressing to kill, though it has a direct link to their Belgian tormentors. The same parallel can be drawn to both the aristocratic and impoverished ends of Francophone Africa and their counterparts resident in France. The refusal of the French Republic to acknowledge race or colour is a hypocrisy which cannot be sold to millennials. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement amid a global pandemic, which drew clear lines between the haves and have-nots, it becomes even more delusional to play the ostrich when addressing the concept of race and colour. “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité ” is no longer sufficient in its quest to enchant a foreigner into the prospect of being something that they will never be or be accepted as.


It might be important to reiterate here the economic interests of France and other Western countries in African countries: from the oil interests of the Netherlands to the Swiss exploitation of cobalt in Congo, down to the absurd control France holds over the CFA (West African Francophone currency). Africa will never be free under these circumstances.


At some point, we all have to debase the fantasy that stems from the delusion that black and white people will live together in harmony despite stark economic differences and disparities in professional opportunities.


Sabotage, a Human Response

Situating the city of Lyon as the home of Modern Sabotage, as suggested in the performance installation of Native Maquari, Simon Rouby, and 2021, the concept of affirmative action is reinforced as a legitimate tool for the oppressed to voice their frustration with the oppressor and effect change. The loom of postcoloniality cannot continue spinning yarn or even be left as a dysfunctional monument, as its mere presence recalls its inherent tension and propensity to create an unbalanced relationship of ownership and remuneration. 


We reverse the response because we have observed in postcolonial Africa, several occasions where ex-colonial masters have perpetuated carefully orchestrated sabotage on disobedient ex-colonies. 


The unofficial Senegalese General Student Association distributed flyers in Dakar and other population centres urging students to “oppose cultural intoxication that attempts to Turn us into foreigners in our own country” and also “systems designed to sabotage the training of African cadres.” 


Bureaucracy as A Fortress of Privilege

The handing down of democratic models of government to African states by their former colonisers has brought peculiar issues that have manifested in different forms: civil wars, civil unrest, corruption, Coup D état, poverty, etc. 


The idea that democratic models of governance could be imposed on entire countries could be labelled as superficial until the bigger context of neo-colonialism is examined and the intentions of these Western colonisers are X-rayed. Depending on the precedence of the coloniser and the resources available in former African colonies, we have witnessed several modes of engagement between both parties owing to varied interests in resources contained in the ex-colony's human and natural resources. The immediate dilemma of most independence stories in Africa was the newfound status of citizens of ex-colonies and their new relationship with their colonisers. 


The immediate dilemma after these independence struggles, which mainly took place in the mid-20th century, was the reality that all ex-colonizers desperately needed the economies and manpower of their colonies to sustain their economies. The obvious plan was to create channels of trade and quasi-governance from home countries to their ex-colonies while granting citizenship to citizens of ex-colonies.  The complexities of these relationships and the policies passed to facilitate and mitigate trade and migration between Western and African states have for long been contentious, as the one-sided relationships continue to benefit the ex-colonizers who, through all sorts of insidious and nefarious manipulations, have made sure that the continent of Africa does not reach its full potential. The African continent has seen everything from illegal mining of mineral resources to interference in electoral processes and peacekeeping operations.


All these atrocities have despicably but cleverly been carried out by the pen, with uttermost fitness and articulation. It becomes patronising to go into specifics, seeing that even as art practitioners in the 21st century, our realities are still heavily influenced by the dictates of the Western world and Africa’s ex-colonizers. 


Without attaching one's destiny to the events of the past, it is important to systematically, and with as much bureaucracy as was necessary to plunge a continent into such brouhaha, dig ourselves out of the wastelands and chart a course that seeks to see past the “Post”. 



In the build-up to this exhibition, I made several visits to France, witnessing the yellow jackets and walking long distances due to the national strikes in December 2019. This instinctively caused me to switch my gaze to France and produce the question: What is France’s relationship with Africa, and why must it be celebrated? Has the plan to turn Africans into French men failed, and so do they need to be appeased with a celebration of where they come from? 


These and many more questions are better answered at a dinner table.


Stereotypes accepted as normal do not negate the need for change in a disproportionately unbalanced French society. Socio-economic apartheid, which has some geographic manifestations, can for now be ignored but will have dire consequences in years to come. And yet, considering the recent heroics of Diyabanza and other members of the Pan-African group Les Marrons Unis Dignes et Courageux, it is safe to say that the future is bright.

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