“Invisible Borders Trans-African Photographers Organisation” is an artist-led initiative founded by Emeka Okereke and registered as a not-for-profit organisation in Nigeria. The pioneer members and participants at the first road trip of the Organization include Ray Daniels Okeugo, Emeka Okereke, Uche Okpa – Iroha, Amaiza Ojeikere, Uche James Iroha, Nike Adesuyi Ojeikere, Lucy Azubuike, Charles Okereke, Chriss Aghana Nwobu and Unoma Giese. The Organisation works with artists and Individuals in contributing to the patching of numerous gaps and misconceptions posed by frontiers within the 54 countries of Africa through art and photography. Beyond that the organisation hopes to expand its activities beyond issues that relate to geographic borders and other forms of discriminating parameters in photography and arts. It is a platform that also stands as a symbol of exchange of ideas between cultures and people. Read our manifesto for more of our ideals.
As a reflection of our name, our flagship project is The Invisible Borders Trans-African Road Trip Project, a project where about a dozen artists (including photographers, writers, filmmakers and performance artists) collectively take road trips across Africa to explore and participate in various photographic events, festival and exhibitions while engaging on a daily basis with the environment and the people encountered. The emphasis is primarily on the collective journey of the participating artists who, during their momentary stops in capital cities, create photographic, video and textual works that often reflect their individual approach to engaging with local artists, art practitioners and the inhabitants. They also collaborate intensively with colleagues from each of the countries involved. Read more about the Road Trip project.
The organization has participated in / organized a number of workshops and exhibitions, as well as other trans-African projects. We have earned the support of numerous partners across the continent and in Europe and North America. Our work has been featured by CNN, Al-Jazeera, Creative Time, etc. To contact us, use the contact page and specify which of our offices you are interested in reaching. You can support our work by donating, participating, or volunteering.
[expand title=”Our Manifesto” tag=”h3″ trigclass=”highlight”] The African society is in flux. But there has never been a time as now that the countries and communities in the continent have been empowered to come to a better understanding of itself. We are driven by a strong urge to herald this understanding of the contemporary African experience. This is what we mean when we say we want to effect change. Our idea of transformation is rooted in our work and practice as artists. We hope to confront, challenge, humour, calibrate, and when necessary denigrate. In this way our work would constantly reflect the need to transcend preconceived notions of what Africa is, what African art is, and how artists can engage their audience.
Collaboration is instrumental to realizing our expectations. We do not see our organization merely as one but as the harbinger of a movement. We are at the frontline of an idea that will ensure greater productivity in the contemporary African arts scene. It is a movement that transcends an artist’s location on the continent or the medium being employed. We are engineering a platform that encourages trans-African interaction between artists and art practitioners in the many countries that make up the continent. We recognise the inevitable importance of collaboration in the building of a solid life-long artistic foundation and we intend to harness that energy.
We do not hesitate to define who our audience is. Since our focus is on the Everyday, our audience is anyone who can relate to their immediate environment. This is why we believe that our audience is boundless. We do not want to be an organization that discourages participation. It is our inclination to engage with our audience through every means possible in real and virtual spaces. Our goal is to openly share our work, cutting across the demarcating lines of classes and proficiency in literacy, thereby expanding the art public to include more of the local audience and those who have been called “layman.”
We are interested in everyday spaces. We believe that the first border we have to cross are the limitations within our immediate localities. In an attempt to reach out to the realities of others, we might fall into the temptation to spectacularize, to perpetuate the notions that outsiders have about the continent. While we are cognizant of these myriad point of views, we make efforts not to be caught in it. This is why we work with local artists, because we are interested in the idea of beginning to ask questions about the continent from a personal and close-to-earth point of view.
We are also looking towards the future. If trans-Africanism would mean anything, it has to be rooted in the potentials of a coming generation of artists. Thus, our activities are geared towards creating stepping-stone experiences for upcoming artists and at the same time engaging in critical discourse on issues and questions challenging the potency of the work being done in the continent. We hope to achieve this through numerous artistic interventions on a grassroot level. We are amongst the fore runners of the 21st century, and as an essentially photographic initiative, through images, we intend to contribute a better portion of the story being told of Africa today which will become her history tomorrow. [/expand]