“Invisible Borders” is a photographic project that is organised and executed annually by as many as 10 Nigerian photographers. The project is trans-African in its orientation, and sees the participating artists collectively taking road trips across Africa to explore and participate in various photographic events, festival and exhibitions. The emphasis is primarily on the individual and collective journey of the participating artists who, during their momentary stops in capital cities, create photographic works that often reflect their individual approach to engaging with local artists and art practitioners. Underpinning the project are several major aims:
· To tell Africa’s stories, by Africans, through photography.
· Encourage exposure of upcoming Nigerian photographers towards experiencing art and photography as practiced in other parts of the continent.
· Develop a cultural network that encourages and embraces trans-African artistic relationships within the continent.
The first edition took place in November 2009 with the photographers travelling from Lagos to Bamako for the 8th Bamako Encounters Biennale of Photography.
Between April 27th and May 16th 2010, the 2nd edition saw the photographers travelling over 3000 miles in a rented 14-seater Ford van across West Africa en route again for Dakar. This time the photographers were heading to the Dak’Art 2010 Biennale of Contemporary African Art, and thus made stops in countries such as the Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal—all within a period of 20 days.
Although IB is not an initiative with fixed participants, the founding participants were the same as those on the 2010 journey with only one new addition. The participants were as follows: Amaize Ojeikere, Ray Daniels Okeugo, Unoma Geise, Lucy Azubuike, Charles Okereke, Chidinma Nnorom, Adenike Ojeikere, Uche Okpa-Iroha, Chriss Aghana Nwobu, and the project’s founder Emeka Okereke.
For IB 2011, the collective tentatively plans to head toward East Africa— with Addis Ababa being the potential destination.
For more information, to see images created during the trips, or to read real-time notes from each journey, please visit the Invisible Borders Blog at www.invisible-borders.blogspot.com
Text by Emeka Okereke