The Museum of Modern Art announces New Photography 2023: Kelani Abass, Akinbode Akinbiyi, Yagazie Emezi, Amanda Iheme, Abraham Oghobase, Karl Ohiri, Logo Oluwamuyiwa.
Running from May 28 to September 16, 2023, the exhibition explores the photographic work of seven artists, all at various stages of their careers, united by their critical use of photographic forms and their connections to the port city’s art scene. of Lagos (Èkó), Nigeria.
This is the final edition of MoMA’s acclaimed New Photography series and will mark its return as a gallery presentation after five years. New Photography 2023 marks the first time that any of these photographers will present their work at MoMA and is the first group exhibition in MoMA’s history to engage the work of living West African photographers. New Photography 2023 is organized by Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, with assistance from Kaitlin Booher, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography.
Since the program began in 1985, New Photography has presented MoMA audiences with the works of more than 150 artists from around the world. Launching the next phase of the series, New Photography 2023 will be the first in a series of exhibitions to emerge from specific art scenes around the world. Following the directions of the featured artists, the show takes Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city and one of the most populous cities on the African continent, as its starting point. The seven international artists presented in the exhibition apply pressure on the idea of ”photography as document” by questioning various forms of visual representation. Many artists take scenes from everyday life in Lagos as their subject matter, rendering new visual expressions of the city through formal experimentation and poetic composition, or chronicling personal narratives at the heart of political action. Others use archival photographs to reveal the psychological traumas and possibilities inherent in physical structures, spatial sites, and historical figures.
“In a world where global systems of relationship are a given, photographic images occupy a crucial place. Photography is no longer just a means of recording our environment, it has become a central prism through which the lived experience is made and shared,” says Onabanjo. “New Photography 2023 brings together the work of seven artists who plumb the depths of the photographic medium and exploit its spatial, social and historical underpinnings to make way for more nuanced forms of perception and encounter.” Collectively, the works and approaches of Abass, Akinbiyi, Emezi, Iheme, Oghobase, Ohiri and Oluwamuyiwa contribute to a global conversation about the role of photography in societal narratives.
In addition to the exhibition presentation, Onabanjo is organizing a photography portfolio review and critical workshop through C-MAP Africa in collaboration with The Nlele Institute (TNI), an autonomous pan-African non-profit organization focused on goal-based media. The program will run from October 31 to November 2, 2022, at Angels and Muse (5 Sumbo Jibowu St, Ikoyi 101233, Lagos) during Art X Lagos, and is generously supported by MoMA’s International Board.
Kelani Abass (b. 1979) lives and works in Lagos.
Akinbode Akinbiyi (b. 1946) lives and works in Berlin.
Yagazie Emezi (b. 1989) lives and works in Lagos.
Amanda Iheme (b. 1992) lives and works in Lagos.
Abraham Oghobase (b. 1979) lives and works in Toronto.
Karl Ohiri (born in 1983) lives and works in London.
Logo Oluwamuyiwa (b. 1990) lives and works in Lagos.