I Wonder As I Wander Debuts In Cinemas, Art Events

by Olamilekan Okeowo

I Wonder As I Wander, a short film by Nigerian visual artist, photographer and writer Emeka Okereke has made its debut in cinemas and art events in Berlin, Germany.

For the short film, Okereke drew on a conversation that was first recorded with fellow photographer Akinbode Akinbiyi as part of his podcast program NKATA.

In the short film, the two Berlin-based Nigerian photographers of different generations engage in a filmic dialogue that transpires between Berlin and Bamako. There will be four screenings in October and the first week of November.

The film captured Akinbiyi’s decades-long pursuit of interrelating photographic processes with the physical and mental rigour of wandering. The weaving of sequences provided a glimpse into essential acts of daily observation, corporeal movement, urban noise and study of light.

While Akinbiyi closely identified with sacred philosophies of Yorubaland in connection to rhythm, symmetry, and balance, it also considered in parallel the words of Nigerian novelist, poet, and critic Chinua Achebe who noted that “Among the Igbo, the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.”

Akinbiyi’s photographs are conversation pieces, extending a dialogue between the viewer and the viewed.

Okereke is a past member of the renowned Nigerian photography collective, Depth of Field (DOF), and has exhibited in Biennales and Art Festivals in cities across the world, notably Lagos, Bamako, Cape Town, London, Berlin, Bayreuth, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Brussels, Johannesburg, New York, Washington, Barcelona, Seville, Madrid, and Paris.

In 2015, his work was exhibited at the 56th Venice Biennale, in the context of an installation titled A Trans-African Worldspace. Okereke is the founder and artistic director of Invisible Borders Trans-African Project, an artist-led initiative that addresses gaps and misconceptions posed by frontiers dividing the 54 countries of the African continent. The project’s flagship undertaking is the Invisible Borders Trans-African Road Trip, wherein a dozen artists, including photographers, writers, filmmakers, and performance artists collectively travel across Africa to explore and participate in various photographic events, festivals and exhibitions while engaging on a daily basis with, and producing work about/in collaboration with, the people and the places they encounter.

Okereke’s work oscillates between diverse mediums. He employs photography, video, poetry, and performative interventions in the exploration of one over-arching theme.

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