The images here are from walks in Millennium park in Abuja, Nigeria a large green space popular with residents from all backgrounds because of its centrality and because of its reputation as one of the few, free, well maintained spaces not gobbled up by private or commercial interests. Overtime as I walked off the park’s main pathways, towards wilder areas on the edges, I began to perceive the park as a sort of conscious benevolent entity that was aware of my presence as I was aware of its aliveness. We would have silent conversations that had less to do with words and more to do with mood and resonance.
I responded to its promptings by picking up the organic and inorganic material it would present to me. A fiery red petal would draw my eye, I would pick up a shiny black seed just to feel its texture. I knew nothing of botany and I barely knew the names of the flowers, seeds and trees around me. As the seasons changed from dry to wet, my senses were engaged in the shifting and we went through processes together.
Soon enough, torn up photos of visitors barely visible left in the grass among branches and fallen leaves began to reveal themselves. The glossy paper provided a bit of protection from the rain, but after a night left to the elements, the images were crumpled, soiled and stained. Slowly I started to collect these fragmented, beautifully damaged and mysterious images gifted to me by the park.
And so, we began to cross pollinate, to co-produce these hybrid children, photo-collage-illustrations.
“A Walk” is a conceptual psycho-geographical survey that visually maps the interior and external environment that I traverse to produce a non-traditional narrative. A narrative mechanism that is mobile, interactive and open-ended. A continuous and transient space with no beginning, middle or end, that yields stills, moving images and an assemblage of three dimensional objects from found things I pick up on my “path”. Found things could be sound, it could be video, it could be torn discarded material, a stick or a leaf.
“A Walk” de-centres my authorship and charts my experience as I produce an improvised narrative from/ with the urban environment that surround me. The environment affects what I create, with each step posing questions about the experience of a gendered body and mobility in urban areas, and the growth ways of flora as it is influenced by the urban environment. “A Walk” is about the experience and process of meaning-making that defy linear language within the spaces I encounter.
“A Walk” is an ongoing project that has been located in Lagos, Abuja and Maiduguri, Nigeria. I began to ideate a "A Walk" as a process for producing visual storytelling after I was awarded a grant by the Open Society Foundation to produce a project that crosses between documentary photography and sculpture to tell a narrative about women's bodies in public space and in the context of the increasing use of female suicide bombers by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.
The images here are from Walks that took place in Abuja, 2018.
2018 - In progress. Photographs, collages, sound, video, sculpture The project was supported by an Open Society Foundation Moving Walls grant.