Aperture Live: Platform Africa
Thursday, July 20
Celebrate Aperture magazine’s summer 2017 issue, “Platform Africa,” with artists Akinbode Akinbiyi and Elsa M’bala in discussion with C&’s associate editor Aïcha Diallo and Aperture’s managing editor Brendan Wattenberg.
“Platform Africa” takes an in-depth look at the dynamic spaces that have shaped conversations about photography in Africa for the last twenty-five years—the biennials, experimental art spaces, and educational workshops in which artists and audiences interact with photography.
The issue is edited in collaboration with Bisi Silva, founder and artistic director of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos, Nigeria; John Fleetwood, former head of Johannesburg’s Market Photo Workshop and current director of Photo:, a new African initiative; and Aïcha Diallo, associate editor of the online magazine Contemporary And (C&).
Akinbode Akinbiyi was born in Oxford, U.K., to Nigerian parents. A freelance photographer since 1977, he studied in Nigeria, England, and Germany, and currently lives and works in Berlin. Akinbiyi’s primary photographic focus is large, sprawling megacities. Wandering and meandering the highways and byways in an attempt to engage with the modern metropolis, he works primarily in Lagos, Cairo, Kinshasa, and Johannesburg. His work has been presented, most recently, in Afriques Capitales at La Villette, Paris and documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel.
Elsa M’bala aka AMET was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and later moved to Germany. As a social worker, she has realized projects with youth in Germany, Canada, and Jamaica. Since 2009 she has been a member of the band Rising Thoughts. The complex experience of living as a black woman between two worlds is a central theme of her artistic activity as author, performer, and musician. In her texts and songs, M’bala takes a poetic and critical approach to investigating her life worlds, the conflicts that arise from these worlds, and her desire for change. In 2017, she has performed at Spektrum, Berlin, during the Saout Radio program of documenta 14, and at the Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix gallery in London.
Brendan Wattenberg is the managing editor of Aperture magazine. Formerly the director of exhibitions at The Walther Collection in New York, he has contributed essays and interviews to NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Another Africa, Contemporary And (C&), and Aperture’s PhotoBook Review and is the editor of the photobook François-Xavier Gbré: The Past is a Foreign Country. Wattenberg has served on the jury for the Addis Foto Fest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2016) and the Changjiang International Photography and Video Art Biennale in Chongqing, China (2017).
Of Guinean, Francophone parentage, Aïcha Diallo was born and grew up in Berlin. Diallo is a cultural analyst and producer, and an educationist. Diallo is associate editor of Contemporary And (C&). She has worked for the cultural platform Chimurenga in Cape Town and the art project prêt-à-partager, organized by the ifa (German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations), which included the co-curation of the international symposium Where We Meet: Cultural Translation and Art in Social Transformation. She curated and edited the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s online dossier The Living Archive: kulturelle Produktionen und Räume (The Living Archive: Cultural Productions and Spaces). In addition, Diallo is a joint program director of KontextSchule (Context School) focusing on art education through the lens of diversity and empowerment, a program affiliated with the UdK. (University of the Arts, Berlin) in the Institute of Art in Context.
Image: Akinbode Akinbiyi, Passageways, Involuntary Narratives, and the Sound of Crowded Spaces, 2015–17
Courtesy the artist