Andrew Esiebo, based in Ibadan and a member of Lagos' collective Black Box, makes photography projects with a strongly photojournalist approach. His projects do not aim at pure or distanced observation, but act as litmus papers or a critical catalyst for the reactions of the viewer to various facets of Nigerian and diasporic culture. Taking his subject matter according to the groups that form themselves around differing social and cultural habits, he has a patient approach that depends on relationships of trust and genuine involvement with his surroundings.
An ongoing project is Holy Ghost Nite. Esiebo says of the impetus to this work:
God is at the heart of life in Nigeria. Religious spaces are found in every nook and cranny in the country. A new wave has been the various religious camps situated along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. One of them is the Redeem Christian Church of God, Nigeria where mass of its faithful gather for the Holy Ghost Night service to ignite their faiths and seek spiritual solution to their various social and spiritual problems. This all night long service is characterized essentially with praises, praying, trance and an opportunity to boost its finances as ushers with polythene bags move round the huge crowd, taking offerings and other monetary pledges. Further projects have documented club nights (Sunday Jump) and football enthusiasts (Soccer World).
Esiebo was invited to work with the Photographers' Gallery during his residency at Gasworks and developed the initial phase of his ongoing project Eyes from South to West, which looked at the experiences of individuals who have migrated to London from Nigeria as recounted to the artist in first person. The project was an audiovisual photo-essay which synchronises sequences of still photographs with interviews.
Artist's Talk at the Photographers' Gallery
23 June, 7pm
Esiebo will be in conversation with Nilu Izadi from Photodebut about his participation in the Lagos collective Black Box, and about his projects on residency in London.
This event is free, booking required. For further information and bookings please see the Photographers' Gallery.