Invisible Borders 2012 | The 4th Edition

Date: August 23 – October 9, 2012

Route: Lagos (Nigeria) – Lubumbashi (Congo)

After successful completion of the IB 2011 from Lagos to Addis Ababa, the Invisible-Borders team plans to travel from Lagos, Nigeria to Lubumbashi, Congo for the 2012 edition. This year’s trip will feature ten artists from different countries in Africa traveling over 13,000 km within 48 days (through mostly rough terrains) from the 23rd of August to the 9th of October 2012. The trip is anchored to the “Rencontres Picha, the biennale of Arts of Lubumbashi and will be organized in collaboration with its organizers.

As usual, we intend to draw from the experience of the previous edition to enrich this year’s road trip. Giving that we will be traveling through countries of mostly francophone and a Spanish speaking Africans, the challenge that stems from difference in language will be ever more apparent for everyone involved. But again, we believe that willingness to work around the limitations of language barrier is crucial to building a Trans-African relation. To that effect Invisible borders 2012 will have participants from different countries in Africa such as Mozambique, Mali, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroun, Congo and Nigeria. The works created from this road trip will be a manifestation of the interactions between these artists while reflecting on the experiences encountered while on the move. The artists will be mainly photographers but also writers and at least, a filmmaker. This year’s selection will include an architect who will reflect on the trend of “Reconstructing Africa” by looking at the various infrastructural projects infesting many countries in the continent.

The group will make stops of about five to seven days in the capital and important cities of Nigeria, Cameroun, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Congo (Kinshasa and Brazzaville) to create artistic works in collaboration with the indigenous artists in the cities, while networking within the art community. However intermediary stop will be made in towns between cities according to the on-ground reality of the trip.

Participants of Invisible Borders are dedicated to creating works, which portray the dynamism, richness as well as contradictions of the various modes of existence of the African people. In doing this, they reject a simplified notion of Africa nor a tidy definition of it, but instead hopes to create an archive of works which “complicates” the depiction of contemporary Africa, one which sees the continent as work-in-progress, rather than a foregone conclusion. However, this will not deter from exploring themes centered on socio-political discourses prevalent in the continent such as women’s right; the role of China and other economic world powers in the shaping of the African economy, nature and wildlife preservation/sustainability, as well as the Infrastructural boom. They will equally explore fashion and music and their role in creating Trans- African relations. Artists are allowed to work from a more personal angle as well as create conceptual photographic, video and textual works. The aim is to tackle diverse but presently relevant issues as seen individually by each of the ten artists involved in the project. In 2013, a book will be published which will be a compilation of the four editions from 2009 – 2012.

Means of Travel/Route/Stops

With the arrival of a new 14 Seater Ford Van, participants would travel together from Nigeria: Lagos, Calabar to Cameroon: Doula, Edea, Kribi, Ebolowa, Meyer centre then going south through Equatorial Guinea: Ebebiyin, Bata, Evinyong to Gabon: Libreville and finally to DR Congo: Dolise, Kinshasa, Lubumbashi.

The estimated distance of the journey is approximately 13,000km. Stops will be made throughout the journey in order to achieve a much more precise and tangible body of work. The artists will continue to create works in every location absorbing the subtle changes that trail throughout West Africa.

The creative approach will be a focus on creating works, which reveal the richness of the daily living of the people and the interactions with their environment, images that are often unno¬ticed in the quest for news headlines. Works to be expected are those, which reveal a profound interaction with the artists, the local people and their environment especially considering that this year’s selection of artists are much more diverse than before.


The estimated duration of the trip is 48 days from the 23rd of August to the 9th of October 2012. During these days images would be workshops and tutorials would be held with photographers in the different cities stopped at. The estimated distance of the journey is approximately 13,000km.


On arrival in Kinshasa, the group in collaboration with Rencontres Picha (the art biennale of Lubumbashi) will conduct a workshop with selected photographers from Kinshasa and afterwards a conference in which they will present the first selection of works produced during the journey and in the workshop, sharing the outcome of the journey with the Congolese Public. The same presentation will take place in Lubumbashi on getting there. Back in Lagos, the Initiative will organise another workshop which will involve selected stu¬dents from the art school, prospective photographers, writers and video artists, an exhibition of the outcome will be hosted during this week. The initiative hopes to hold conferences in the cit¬ies previously visited, as was the case with the previous editions. In 2012, IB 2011 will be shown at the New Museum of New York after the presentations in Addis Ababa and Lagos. Following the completion of the Invisible borders book in 2013, there will be a tour through eleven African cities featuring exhibitions and workshops of Invisible Borders alongside the book launching.


At the end of this 4th edition, a bilingual book of about 300 pages of the Invisible Borders project will be produced. It will be a compilation of the four editions into a single book, fea¬turing images and written materials from participating artists of the all the editions. This book will attempt to curate the thought processes of the artists while documenting in detailed but concise arrangements, the trajectory of the project as well as experiences encountered during the entire editions. This book has already been commissioned and will be published by Institute Français of France and another co-editor.

Website & Blog

The Invisible Borders project embraces the Internet as a platform for reach¬ing out to a wider public, more so because the web is vastly becoming acceptable in the conti¬nent as the easiest means of communication and social interactions. For this reason, a vital as¬pect of the project is the daily blogging. In the previous editions, a blog was set up and updated on a daily basis by the participants during the journey, informing the subscribers and online public through images, video and written accounts of events as experienced by the artists. It will be the same for this journey, but much more with the recently lunched official website of the initiative (www.archive.invisible-borders.com)

Confirmed participants are as follows:

We are expecting to confirm two more participants.

Confirmed Partners are as follows:

  • Prince Claus Fund
  • Canon Europe
  • Rencontres Picha
  • Doual’Art
  • Institut Français

…And more to be confirmed.

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