by Ọmọ́túndé Kasali

The 2017 Participants at the Press Conference

On Saturday 14 October 2017, Invisible Borders, the Trans-African Art and Travel Project, held a press conference for the 7th edition of its road trip, termed Borders Within II. This will be the final leg of its trans-Nigerian road trip started with the previous edition in 2016. Since 2011, this group has organized road trips across long distances as a way of interrogating geographic boundaries while providing a means for writers and other visual artists to create new works on the road. We have supported the effort here at because we believe in travel as a way to expand mental, spiritual, and artistic horizons.

[Read our interview with its founders Emmanuel Iduma and Emeka Okereke here]

To begin on 15 October and to last for six weeks, the trip entails a group of artists travelling across 17 States and 21 cities and “mapping diversity across regions and states and ethnic formations in Nigeria” through their works.

The participants, who emerged following a selection procedure involving over 100 applications across Africa are Emeka Okereke, Founder and Artistic Director of Invisible Borders; Kechi Nomu, a culture writer and poet who was a finalist for the 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize; Kenechukwu Nwatu, a photographer and filmmaker; Yinka Elujoba, a writer and Director of Publications of Invisible Borders; Amara Nicole Okolo, a lawyer and writer already with two books to her name; James Bekenawei, a writer, photographer, and co-administrator of the IgersNigeria, the official Nigerian Instagrammer’s community; Nengi Nelson, a photographer and filmmaker; Innocent Ekejuiba, Project Manager of Invisible Borders; and Kemi Falodun, a writer and Head of Communications for Invisible Borders.

The artists will aim to produce works that represent their reflections on contemporary Nigeria, while attempting to answer the following questions: “Who am I in relation to the artificial map? How am I a product of what I have been inevitably named? And how do I interact across several visible and invisible borders I confront as a Nigerian?”

Following the road trip, the participating artists will be required to produce a major body of work – the writers a long travel essay of up to 7000 words, and the photographers at least an encompassing body of work. Additionally, a lengthy documentary containing narratives of Nigerians encountered on the trip will be produced, with the aim of “creating a crowd-sourced narrative of contemporary Nigeria.” In the meantime, the artists will, while on the trip, reflect on and share their experiences at their dedicated blog here.

Ọmọ́túndé Kasali is an aspiring educationist, with interests in language and in literature.

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