DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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Documentary: “Lagos in the Red”.

Made by Danish filmmakers Lotte Løvholm, Karen Andersen & Nanna Nielsen, Lagos in the Red follows Nigerian performance artist Jelili Atiku. Atiku uses his body as a prop as a means of sensitizing people to the problems that Nigeria - both as a people and a country - face. 

This documentary particularly focuses on his performance ‘Red Light’ which he performs in Ejigbo, the neighborhood he was born and raised in. The color red in his performance symbolizes ‘life, violence, energy and the essence of human life”.

Once a fine arts student, Atiku is an art teacher in Lagos who stresses the importance of are as a symbolic tool, far above monetary value, used to communicate one’s emotions, preserve culture and history, as well as raising consciousness among people - especially in a country like Nigeria.

Related post: “Why don’t South Africans like performance art?

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All Africa, All the time.

Photography Feature: ‘Snap it Oga’.

Lagos is not an easy city to photograph. Living in Lagos itself is not an easy thing to do. But the city is always alive, teeming with life and bustling to the brim with electricity (in the figurative sense) as feet, hands, bodies and hearts go about their daily hustle in a city that resembles nowhere else on this earth.

Lagos, Lasgidi, Eko, City of Excellence, or whatever name you use to refer to one of Africa’s leading cities, is a place that gives life to a photographer’s lens. But we all know that same old drill of having to see images in foreign media sensationalize an almost sadistic relationship they have in highlighting the negative aspects of African environments and showcasing our sufferings. 

As a self-described “photography enthusiast” from India currently residing in Lagos, based on images found through a simple Google search, Devesh did not know what exactly to expect when moving to the city. He just knew it didn’t look enthralling in any sense of the word. Now, however, after being in Lagos for several months he has become a keen photographer of his new temporary home. From motorcyle taxis to market women, art works to artisans, he chronicles his image-taking adventures in a blog titled ‘Snap it, Oga!' that shows a Lagos that is more than familiar to anyone native Lagosian.

Here’s what he had to say about his photographic journey in Lagos, thus far: 

I came here seven months back and before coming here I Googled about Lagos and Nigeria. I am afraid, I didn’t find a lot of positive stories and pictures in search results that time. 

Once I reached here and started to move around Lagos, I realized there are lot of positives here which everyone conveniently ignores.

There is art here almost everywhere…on Danfos, on streets, on shop signboards, on school walls and so on.

The Nigerian love for food, football and music is just infectious. I thought it would be great to capture all of this and showcase it online. 

I decided to start a blog for my Nigerian pictures to showcase that this country is so much more than the negative P.R. it gets  The first few people I photographed in Lagos would say “Snap it, Oga” when I was looking at them through my camera’s viewfinder. The name stayed on and I named my blog ‘Snap It Oga’!

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All Africa, All the time.

In Nigeria, there is no love bigger than the love for Football. 

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Puma three wheeler! #lagos #lagosnigeria #streetphotography #naija #puma #nigerian #nigeria #snapitoga #africa

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The city of red bikes :)

Two African cities, Lagos and Johannesburg, listed in new book Art Cities of the Future: 21st Century Avant-Garde as two of twelve global cities to keep an eye on for exciting emerging urban landscapes for contemporary art.

Kari Rittenbach, the book’s editor, describes these places as “urban areas that offer something beyond even prestigious museums and a thriving gallery culture”, and that offer their own creative economies and “critical feedback systems”.

PICTURED: Detail from “The Eclipse Will Not Be Visible to the Naked Eye,” by Dineo Seshee Bopape.

October: Highlighting African Art & African Artists

Photographs from InLagos - a collection of everyday images of life in Nigeria’s most populous city, taken by Michael Odusanya.

September: Highlighting African Photographers

Q&A with Nigerian photographer Michael Odusanya of ‘In Lagos’

Lagos - centre of excellence, city of hustle.

For those of us who’ve either lived in or visited the hubbub that is the former capital of Nigeria, we all know that Lagos is a grimy and gritty place where, daily, just about everyone is struggling and hustling to survive in some way amidst the contrast of crumbling infrastructure and on-going new developments. But despite this quotidian routine of hustle and bustle, Lagos is anything but mundane. It’s a one-of-a-kind incredibly diverse city that is home to Nigerians from all around the country, as well as other Africans from neighbouring states, that has a unique atmosphere not found any where else. 

InLagos is a collection of images that captures this reality in all its different forms, as seen by part-time Lagos-based Nigerian photographer Michael Odusanya.

Here he opens up about his feelings on life in Lagos through a lens:

In about 5 sentences or less, briefly tell us about who you are, where you live and are from, and what it is that you do:

I live in Lagos Nigeria where I currently work as a designer / developer in an advertising agency- I’m Nigerian but I essentially behave like a citizen of the whole world.

How, and when, did your relationship with photography begin?

Most of us like cameras and pictures for some reason. I got my first DSLR in 2010 and studied a bit to understand the fundamentals of photography. I never want to be a pro but then I wanted to shoot manual. Photography soon became another creative outlet for me and now I shoot with the convenience of a 50mm lens and carry my camera almost everywhere.

What was it that made you decide to concentrate on urban photography - specifically photographing life on the streets of Lagos?

Lagos. Sometimes we ignore the extra-ordinary details in the most ordinary place or in the interactions of people and these places. But you know - art like nature will happen nonetheless – whether or not it will be noticed.

Initially I was taking pictures with my iphone - I’d be on the road or driving and I’ll see a moment I had to capture. I was beginning to allow myself see the details and beauty in my environment. Lagos is where I am hence Inlagos.

You have a very specific and unique style of photography. Many of your photographs seem to have an almost grey-ish haze over them, and there often seems to be some distance between you and the individuals in your photos. How well do you think your photographs represent what it is that you wish to portray through them?

Inlagos.tumblr.com has evolved and has generally affected itself and my photography. Things are the way they are - but I now want my art to - as art can - inspire or exalt the ordinary by showing more dimensions to or an amplification of the same thing. You know - like it appears in music, the movies, architecture, fashion etc. None of my photos are planned and I shoot from a distance leaving objects oblivious.

Usually I stop when I feel something special about the photo - and then hope people can feel the same thing too – or something more.

What is/are the most rewarding or challenging things about photographing Lagos?

I have noticed that Nigerians abroad who haven’t been home in a while connect with these photos. I’m very glad about that.
I’m also excited that I’m able to contribute original content to the internet. There aren’t any challenges really - it is only a pet project that I’m passionate about.

Lastly, since you’re out and about quite a bit in Lagos, could you share some of your favourite places in the city with us?

I like the early morning view - approaching the island before descending the 3mb - one can see the whole thing spread out - from Lagos mainland to Lekki to the sand and then back to the water.

The view standing on the pedestrian bridge in Ojota is timeless. It looks like historical Lagos and today’s Lagos at the same time, looking towards Maryland or the opposite direction - Ikorodu.

Under the Marina bridge there is graffiti, most likely done by dwellers, that I would love to capture. Goodness! The things written on those pillars.

September: Highlighting African Photographers

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Lekki Oceanside

Photo by Temi Adebayo

Photography by Lagos-based Nigerian photographer
Lakin Ogunbanwo.

Check out Dynamic Africa’s Q&A with Lakin here.

September: Highlighting African Photographers

Q&A with Lagos-based fashion photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo:

In about five sentences or less, tell us a little about yourself
and what you do:

I like to think I’m a funny, opinionated, simple young man.

What led you to photography and how long have you considered yourself a photographer?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to take pictures

What role, if any, does your Nigerian heritage and identity play in your photography, and how conscious are you of your cultural assets when working?

It’s not something I consciously focus on, but being born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, my work is constantly influenced by my culture. 

Portraiture and fashion photography seem to be the main focus areas of your work, is this the road you’d always pictured yourself going down or is this simply the result of opportunity?

It was always going to be [about] people. Fashion, because of how creative it allows me to be, and portraiture because of the connection it allows me to have with the subjects I photograph. 

What have been some of the most rewarding moments in your career thus far?

The fact that I have a career is in itself rewarding.

Lastly, where else on the internet can people connect with you, besides tumblr?

instagram & twitter: @lakinogunbanwo

September: Highlighting African Photographers

When I visited the Lagos National Stadium a few years back whilst back home on a two-month visit, I could only use my imagination to picture the grandeur that my parents had talked about the now neglected and dilapidated arena.

Like many buildings in Nigeria’s once capital city, the site has gone to ruins through lack of maintenance, since the early 2000s, and is now merely a shadow of its former self. Built 12 years after the country gained independence, this multi-purpose stadium with a capacity of 55, 000 saw much action in its hey-day mostly hosting football tournaments. During the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations tournament match between Algeria and Nigeria, a record 85, 000 people were recorded as present during the game.

Now, despite efforts to revamp the arena, the once state-of-the-art stadium has been damaged by the harsh elements of Lagos weather (mostly heat, humidity and flooding caused by heavy rain), and is now home to ‘area boys’ (gangs of young men) and squatters, but also athletes and trainers of all ages who are echoes of the stadium’s original purpose, as seen above and documented by Lagos-based Nigerian photographer August Udoh.

September: Highlighting African Photographers