Friday, 5 March 2010


By Aderemi Adegbite

In the quest to constantly come up with innovative ideas, Kowry Kreations Media collaborated with the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA, Lagos) on the project: P.A.G.E.S. This is a platform created for artists and writers to dialogue with their art and literature. This project is designed to assemble fictionist, poets and playwrights, arts and literary lovers in Art Exhibition Halls around the world.

This project started in February 2009. It is geared towards giving literary analysis to works being exhibited at the Centre and initiate dialogue around the works during each exposition. The project has been a thought provoking experiment since inception.

The photo exposition – Like A Virgin was the first to work with on this project and it was quite incisive due to its probing nature and the central theme that dealt with homosexuality. This give room for the discussion of bi-sexuality treated in the book: ‘Walking with Shadow,’ written by Jude Dibia. For the first time, the Nigerian art and literary audience was faced with the reality of sexuality, womanhood and human existence in both Zanele Muholi and Lucy Azubuike photography works. Gabi Ngcoba and Bisi Silver co-curated the alien exposition for the Nigerian contemporary art circle.

The World is Flat was another interesting theme to work with but posed difficulty in sorting for the book that could best treats the issue of mapping and locations around the world in the Nigerian literature. But then, a newly published book by DADA Books, The Abyssinian Boy, which its central theme was multi-cross-culture, became the canvass on which the discussion was laced.   

The larger percentage of the audience were dazzled by Toni Kan’s knowledge and appreciation of the art during Trash-ing, an exposition by Kainebi, in collaboration with CCA, Lagos. The most reveling aspect of the edition of the project was that a lot of people got to know that Toni Kan – banker and writer - and Charles Onwordi (RIP), prolific graphic artist are blood brothers.

It was challenging bringing together for the first time, two writers from different genres – fiction and poetry. Teju Cole, a US based art historian and the author of ‘Everyday is for the Thief’ entangled in a contrast dialogue with Jumoke Verissimo, a Nigerian based writer, the author of ‘I Am Memory’ during the exposition – Identity: An Imagined State. The pioneering video art exposition which was co-curated by Oyinda Fakeye and Jude Anogwih tackled the theme of African identity, migration and racism. And this served as the fabric on which discussion on cross-cultural issues affecting not only Africans but the world in entirety was woven. Members of the audience were made to realize that complex is an international phenomenon and a thing of the mind, by both writers.


The platform has succeeded in letting writers and artists see a core connection in their respective works. On the writers’ side, P.A.G.E.S gives them a new interpretation of their works through art works – paintings, photography, installation and video art. It was interesting to know that the 2008 NLNG Literature Prize shortlisted writer, Jude Dibia, read for the first from his award winning book ‘Walking with Shadow’ at this event. The author was surprised at how Aderemi and Hansi brought out a new perspective of his book in their effort to making it relevant to the theme of the exposition. With this, Aderemi Adegbite, the curator of this project established that book should not be limited to the main theme it explores but its sub-theme at times could be stronger.

The 22 year old author of the most ambitious book that recently won two prizes in the just concluded Abuja Literature Festival, Onyeka Nwelue, is currently working with a US based Dane visual and film artist Lesse Lau on the film of his book. The Oscar Award nominee film producer and the author of ‘The Abyssinian Boy,’ met during the exposition of The World is Flat, the second edition of P.A.G.E.S at the centre where they discussed the volatile issues surrounding the meridians of the world map and its intricacies. 

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