The Museum of Modern Art reveals New Photography 2023: Kelani Abass, Akinbode Akinbiyi, Yagazie Emezi, Amanda Iheme, Abraham Oghobase, Karl Ohiri, Logo Oluwamuyiwa.
On view from May 28 through September 16, 2023, the exhibit checks out the photographic work of seven artists, all at various stages in their professions, who are united by their vital usage of photographic forms and their ties to the creative scene in the port city of Lagos (Èkó), Nigeria.
This is the most recent edition of MoMA’s popular New Photography series and will mark its return as a gallery presentation after 5 years. New Photography 2023 marks the very first time any of these professional photographers will present their work at MoMA and is the first group exhibit in MoMA’s history to engage the work of living West African photographers. New Photography 2023 is arranged by Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Partner Curator, Department of Photography, with the assistance of Kaitlin Booher, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow, Department of Photography.
Because the program started in 1985, New Photography has actually presented MoMA audiences to work by more than 150 artists from around the world. Launching the next stage of the series, New Photography 2023 will be the first in a sequence of exhibits to emerge from particular art scenes around the world. Following the cues of the featured artists, the show takes Lagos-the largest city in Nigeria and among the most populous cities on the African continent-as its starting point. The 7 International Artists featured in the exhibition apply pressure to the concept of “picture as file” by interrogating differing types of visual representation. A lot of the artists take scenes of daily life in Lagos as their subject, rendering new visual expressions of the city through official experimentation and poetic structures, or by chronicling individual accounts at the heart of political action. Others engage archival photographs to expose the mental injuries and possibilities embedded in physical structures, spatial websites, and historic figures.
“In a world where international systems of relation are a provided, photographic images inhabit an important position. No longer is the photograph solely a method of taping our environments, it has actually ended up being a central prism through which lived experience is made and shared,” says Onabanjo. “New Photography 2023 joins the work of 7 artists who plumb the depths of the photographic medium, and mine its spatial, social, and historic undercurrents in order to make space for more nuanced types of perception and encounter.” Collectively, the works and methods of Abass, Akinbiyi, Emezi, Iheme, Oghobase, Ohiri, and Oluwamuyiwa contribute to an international conversation about the function of photography in social narratives.
In addition to the exhibit discussion, Onabanjo is arranging a Photography Portfolio Evaluation and Critical Workshop through C-MAP Africa in partnership with The Nlele Institute (TNI), a Pan-African, autonomous not-for-profit organization focusing on lens-based media. The program will happen from October 31 through November 2, 2022, at Angels and Muse (5 Sumbo Jibowu St, Ikoyi 101233, Lagos) throughout Art X Lagos, and is kindly supported by MoMA’s International Council.
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 (b. 1983) lives and works in London.
Logo design Oluwamuyiwa (b. 1990) lives and works in Lagos.