Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Initiative is an art-led initiative registered as a non-profit organization in Lagos under the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is founded in 2009 by passionate artists – mostly photographers – with a drive and urge to effect change in the society.
The vision of the initiative is to become a symbol of networking and trans-border associations within the arts and photography in Africa, but also to become a stepping-stone platform for young immerging talents in the continent in such a way that it creates a breeding ground for young artist to be thinking beyond borders at the beginning stage of their creative quest.
The mission of the Initiative is to tell Africa’s stories, by Africans, through photography and inspiring artistic interventions; to encourage exposure of upcoming African photographers towards art and photography as practiced in other parts of the continent.; to establish a platform that encourages and embraces trans- African artistic relationships within the continent, and to contribute towards the socio-political discourse shaping Africa of the 21st Century.
Their goal is to constantly spread and share knowledge and information, cutting across the demarcating lines of classes and proficiency in literacy, thereby expanding the art public to include more of the local audience and the “layman”.
Their activities aim to cut through the local, national and international, and to create points of interactions between these levels, hence the name Invisible Borders.
The main activity /project of the Initiative since its foundation has been The Invisible Borders Road Trip Project, a project where about a dozen artists/photographers collectively take road trip across Africa to explore and participate in various photographic events, festival and exhibitions while engaging on a daily basis with the environment and the people encountered. The emphasis is primarily on the collective journey of the participating artists who, during their momentary stops in capital cities, create photographic, video and textual works that often reflect their individual approach to engaging with local artists, art practitioners and the inhabitants. They also collaborate intensively with colleagues from each of the countries involved.
The first edition was in 2009 with ten participants: nine photographers, and a writer who travelled from Lagos, Nigeria to Bamako Mali with stops in Benin, Ghana, Togo and Burkina Fasso. In 2010, the group travelled with ten participants from Lagos to Dakar. Both trips were documented in a blog. After the trips the workshops, conferences and exhibitions were organized in Bamako (2009), Lagos (2009 and 2010), Abuja (2010), Dakar (2010), Addis Ababa (2010), Bern Museum Switzerland (2010), Berlin (april2011) where the outcome and experiences of the two editions were shared with the public and students.
The results of the past two editions are that six emerging photographers and a writer have gained first national/international exposure, and that the website, the blog, and the follow-up workshops are gradually becoming a strong resource and database for art researchers, and interested collaborators. It has also commenced an “Image Bank project”, in order to make available all the images to users across the continent and the world at large.
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