The first NMAFA event under new director, Ngaire Blankenberg whose strategy is a 21st Century Global African Arts Museum had its first stop in Lagos, Nigeria on November 6.
Held on the 6th of November 2021, “24 Hours of the Smithsonian in Lagos” was a collaborative interactive art experience in partnership with Art X Lagos, the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF), the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF) and David Adjaye designed venue Alára to bring together the international, Nigeria and African diaspora through the worlds of film, art, photography and fashion with “Taste! 24 Hours of the Smithsonian in Lagos”
Taste! Curated by former Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow Temitayo Ogunbiyi, it is a multisensory, participative art experience which involves the use of sound, photography, and food by sound artist Emeka Ogboh, New York based photographer Iké Udé and Temitayo Ogunbiyi in collaboration with chef Renèe Chuks.
Kicking off with Taste! Mystique, on Friday, November 5, Iké Udé held a masterclass for a group of Lagos-based photographers in collaboration with the African Artists’ Foundation. A select group of young artists were tutored by Udé in his signature style, mystique at the intersection of harmony and the unexpected. The participants then took portraits of Nollywood actor, producer, and creative entrepreneur Enyinna Nwigwe next to evocative “props.”
The NMAFA board reception followed on November 6, hosted by Ghenga Oyebode at Nok. He expressed his excitement that this was the first Smithsonian experience in Africa, with Lagos as the first stop.“This is the very first Smithsonian event on the continent, proud for Lagos to lead and excited about what lies ahead.”
In the same vein, Director Ngaire Blankenberg spoke about their plans for new collaborations across Africa to create and build new immersive art experiences.
The “24 Hours of the Smithsonian in Lagos” main event was held on Sunday November 7 featuring the Taste! Transformation, Taste! Mystique, Taste! Sound and Taste! Memory experiences. Visitors, influencers, Nollywood stars and artists including Noble Igwe, Enyinna Nwigwe, Saga Adeolu, Emmanuel Oyeleke, Ugonna Ibe, and others were able to visit and, participate in Taste! held simultaneously at the David Adjaye designed venue Alara.
Emeka Ogboh’s ‘Sounds of Lagos’ playlist ushered in visitors with a mix of upbeat, soulful and melodic sounds inspired by the streets of Lagos.
This was followed by the Taste! Mystique portrait exhibition by Iké Udé featuring dynamic portraits of muse Enyinna Nwigwe by young Nigerian photographers from the previously held masterclass.
The Taste! Memory experience featured locally grown botanical bites prepared by Chef Renee Chuks and Temitayo Ogunbiyi reminiscent of their childhoods in Lagos.
The Taste! Transformation panel discussion featuring Azu Nwagbogu, Director Lagos Photo Festival, and AAF; ArtX founder, Tokini Peterside; AFRIFF creative director, Chioma Onyenwe; and director Ngaire Blakenberg.
The Art experience wrapped up with The African International Film Festival Opening Cocktail Party. At the cocktail event, new, and established talents of the Nigerian cinema such as Sharon Ooja, Enyinna Nwigwe, Kate Henshaw, Denrele Edun, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Ini Dima-Okojie, Diane Russet, Ojy Okpe, Colette Otusheso and others took part in the Tableau Vivant created by conceptual artist, Iké Udé featuring regal models in ensembles by the Nigerian Grand Dame of costumes, and Chief Nike Okundaye-Davies as an addendum to his Nollywood Portraits.
“Iké Udé: Nollywood Portraits” will open at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. February 5, 2022.