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NKATA: Art and Processes
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NKATA: Art and Processes

Author: Nkata Podcast Station

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NKATA is an Igbo word from the language spoken by the Igbo people of Nigeria. It simply means "Conversation". Thus this podcast series will feature conversations with selected individuals (artists, cultural operators, and creatives) whose work I have known – some over many years and others, a little less so. What sets them apart is that I consider them and their works to be compelling, engaging and relevant to the time. The idea of this podcast is to have in-depth but also accessible conversations about who these individuals are, their life’s journeys and how this translates into their vocation as creative people. Conversations will depart from exploring the background of the artists' personal history while meandering through key themes, positions, and ideologies central to their works. Each episode will feature one conversation with a selected artist. Emeka Okereke (Host).
15 Episodes
Jide Adeniyi-Jones (b. Lagos, 1952) is a Nigerian documentary photographer based in Lagos and Washington, DC. He credits the English photographer John Vickers for paving his way into photography in 1972. Since then, he has worked across various sectors of the discipline, including advertising, private media, civic service, and contemporary art. Having been a photographer for most of Africa's post-independence era, he has witnessed and documented many key political events in the continent as they unfolded. Yet, to those who know him within the profession, Adeniyi-Jones has put his humanity and nuanced way of reading the world at the service of those behind the viewfinder as much as he has of his camera. Moreover, through masterclasses, mentorship programs, jury activities, and informal tutelage, he has, over the years, transmitted his sensibilities to younger professionals in ways that transcend the scope of any documented account. Thus, in many ways, he has contributed to the foundation of thought and ethics of contemporary Nigerian photography, of which many photographers/artists of today are fortunate beneficiaries.In the 14th episode of Nkata: Art & Processes, Adeniyi-Jones takes us back on memory lane through expansive recollections of noteworthy events of his life and practice that underscores his passion for photography and devotion to social issues. He takes the listener through the ethics of photography accrued over so many years of experience telling stories of everyday persons to explain what he means when he says, "Photography forces you to establish a point of view."For those searching for the wealth of hindsight, this podcast conversation is an encouraging companion in the interminable journey of growth. This is aptly captured, towards the last minutes of the conversation, when he says, "Move one foot in front of the other, and you will find the road."Guest: Jide Adeniyi-JonesHost: Emeka OkerekeProduction: Atelier E.K OkerekeProduction Assistant: Tom SaaterPhotography: Tom SaaterSupport the show
Achille Mbembe is no doubt one of the most influential philosophers of the 21st century. Born in Cameroun in 1957, the year that ushered in a ricochet of the independence of African nations – also known as the year of Kwame Nkrumah – in many ways, his work and disposition could be summarised as an embodiment of the spirit of the future. In this conversation moderated by Emeka Okereke for the 13th episode of Nkata Podcast, Art and Processes, Mbembe generously opens up personal spaces to offer intimate knowledge through which the intentions behind his work can be grasped.Starting with key moments that marked his childhood, he weaves strands of trajectories together while paying tribute to the two people that mattered most in his life: his parents. He speaks of his mother as the one who taught him what joy is all about such that his life's work becomes an ongoing attempt to transform joy into hope.The passing of his father was the most remarkable moment for him. It was also the moment he became, in all sense of the world, a person born into a "planetary world".Throughout the conversation, his voice is measured, calm, and thoughtful, yet grounded in the conviction of its cadence. He expands on Afropolitanism, a concept which he helped to coin:"When I use the term Afropolitanism, it refers to the "becoming planetary" of our predicament."Most remarkably, the conversation incites the listener to contemplate a world whose cartography is in contestation without evading the indispensable question: what will become of our future in such a world whereby the rate at which we encounter each other is intensified? Mbembe offers a few pointers:"The question becomes: What are the lines of flight that allow for a modicum of respiration – that allow for the disruption of the logic of suffocation?""We live in a state of interminable predicament. We have to learn to live with it in a way that is not sterile – that allows an opening to keep nurturing, at the very least, the spirit of resistance. We have to keep open the possibility of a horizon".Although not directly, he invites the listener to re-read and re-understand the works of such influential thinkers as Frantz Fanon, Edouard Glissant and Toni Morrison for how they elucidate our times and serve as beacons for the future.This conversation adds yet another layer of lucidity to thoughts, ideas, and propositions expounded in such seminal works as "The Critic of Black Reason", "Necropolitics", and "Out of The Dark Night" for which Mbembe is deservedly known.Who would benefit from listening to this conversation? Anyone who is genuinely committed and, by extension, tangibly hopeful about the future of our planet.Runtime: 73 mins.Photo Credit: Herby SachsProduction: E.O Multimedia LTD. Conceptualisation: Atelier E.K Okereke Host: Emeka OkerekeGuest: Achille MbembeSupport the show
The 12th episode of Nkata Podcast: Art & Processes features a conversation with Koyo Kouoh.Koyo Kouoh is a Cameroonian-born curator. She is a leading figure in the Contemporary art world. More specifically, she is one of the pioneers who helped shape and articulate contemporary art practices from the African continent and beyond. Her work is rooted in community and institution-building through collaborations. She is the founder of RAW MATERIAL COMPANY, an art space in Dakar that promotes critical thinking and knowledge production through artistic activities. She is currently the Executive Director and Chief Curator of Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town.Her work spans geography in a tentacular manner and no given order. So, suppose one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century is the limitations that come with mapping and shaping of the borders of the world. In that case, she is one of those remapping and tangibly affecting culture through her movement and way of being in the world.The podcast conversation starts with Koyo recounting her earlier days. Then, prompted by Emeka Okereke, she dwells extensively on the experiences that propelled her towards her vocation as a curator.She speaks of her encounter with Toni Morrison's Beloved, the birth of her son; her work as the editor of the German version of Magaret Busby's Daughters of Africa (1992), and meeting of the late avant-garde Senegalese artist Issa Samb. These encounters – layered unto her upbringing (having been born, raised and "bathed in the care of extra-ordinary women") in Cameroun before moving, with her mother, to France and Switzerland at the age of 13 – served as the earliest compass in a world and discipline that she would eventually help forge.Yet, throughout the conversation, Koyo reiterates the half-truth of merely understanding her work simply as a curator."This is not a job. We are workers of the spirit".The conversation meanders through myriad recollections of Koyo Kouoh's trajectory while elaborating on how they feed into her professional practice."I believe in Professional Genealogy".Faithfully keeping steps with her pace of thoughtful word choices, the conversation makes a running thread from Koyo's dedication to her relationships with artists and young professionals and how that has shaped her notion of institution building.Koyo's words are a beacon, just as they are a backbone, for artists and art practitioners interested in the wealth of hindsight.If not for the nuggets of wisdom scattered across the length of the episode, let it be for her concluding words when she speaks of her responsibility in managing a 9,500 square metres space as the Director of Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Arts in Cape Town. It exemplifies the disposition Toni Morrison refers to as "Careful Optimism". In other words, we do this for joy. We do this for hope. We do this for posterity. There is nothing to prove beyond that. Yes, the work is cut out for us. Yet, the possibilities of our agency and subjectivity are humbling as much as they are empowering.Support the show
Olu Oguibe (b.1964, Aba) is a Nigerian artist and academic living and working in the United States of America. He is one of the foremost scholars of his generation whose work constitutes a pillar of what we now know as Contemporary African art and post-colonial studies. Since 1988, he has saddled a rigorous and prolific artistic practice as a visual artist, writer, curator, professor and art historian. Put succinctly, a credible account of the history and trajectory of Post-colonial/Contemporary art from Africa and the Diaspora is unimaginable without referencing the work of Olu Oguibe.In conversation with Emeka Okereke for the 12th Episode of Nkata: Art & Processes, Oguibe relives his childhood days growing up in the East of Nigeria. He credits his artistic inclinations to the peculiarity of his childhood upbringing and the circumstances into which he was born. Like James Baldwin or Fela Kuti, Oguibe was born a preacher's son. In the same vein, his birth preceded, by just three years, one of the most defining wars of independence struggles in the 20th century: The Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967 - 1970.The two hours long conversation takes, as a marker, three poems from the book, "I am Bound To This Land By Blood" – an anthology of poems by Oguibe, written over 25 years. This anthology could easily be considered a sojourner's handbook. To say the least, it lays bare some of the thoughts and emotions underpinning the condition of Exile. It allows us a glimpse into visceral yet convoluted experiences of Patriotism, Love, Conscience, Self and Home(lessness).The poems set the premise for delving into anecdotes and recollections upon which Oguibe's lifelong preoccupation threads.He comes full circle when he insists that, all along, his has been "a search for eloquence". However, he anticipates a misreading here by grounding this notion of eloquence in the Igbo cosmology and artistic aesthetics as embodied in the works of Obiora Udechukwu and Chinua Achebe.The conversation is riddled with references to pioneers who, working in the 20th century, paved the way for the 21st. Each name referenced is a door of history opening out to divergent trajectories. We encourage the listeners of this podcast to further research the practices of all those referenced. The tapestry of history is rich and multilayered!The podcast is marked with timestamps to help the listener navigate the conversation.0:00 – Early days, Family home, being Biafran and Nigerian.10:15 – I am bound to this land by blood. The prophetic vision. 36: 40 – Conscience as a sojourner's totem49:50 – Do Not Forget where you come from/ new Diaspora. 59:00 – The disposition of those who came before us.90:30 – In Search of eloquence from earlier to recent body of work.97:20 – Love, Self-love, The Road, Home(lessness).Support the show
In episode 10 of Nkata: Art & Processes, Emeka Okereke is in Conversation with Qudus Onikeku (b. 1984, Lagos), a Nigerian contemporary dancer, performer and Choreographer. He has been active and consistently prolific since 2004, so much that one cannot knowledgeably talk about the practice and evolution of contemporary dance in the 21st century without stumbling on the name Onikeku. As with many notable artists who came of age at the dawn of the century, he embodies the belief that art is only as important as what one can do and change with art. This long-form conversation builds on the cordial, professional and collaborative relationship between the two artists dating back to their encounter as art students in Paris in 2004. It is a reminiscence of how much of the longs hours of exchanges on ideas, concepts, urges and dreams have coalesced into tangible forms and methodologies today. In this episode, we get a sense of the fundamental beliefs that, over the years, have stacked up to form an indomitable propellant for this tirelessly itinerant artist. “It was already by then that I realised that freedom of expression is not free”. He starts with his childhood days, and how growing up in a polygamous home taught him one of the first lessons that would be crucial for his artistic practice: co-existence. The only way to walk towards a sense of self and freedom is to allow space for others to express their freedom as well. Much of the conversation dwells extensively on the complexness, language and constitution of the body as with when he says: “There is something divine about dance and this whole conversation about the the body. Our body is the house of everything”.  All through, Onikeku manages to ground his inferences on his knowledge of the Yoruba cosmology. His delineation of the connection between image, performance, remembering and reincarnation in this regard, is one of the most vivid and picturesque illustration of this relationship which is often at the heart of any visual art-making.The overarching premise could be surmised in this reference made in the course of the conversation:“Bob Marley said “We have to fulfil the Book”, but now the book has been shattered, thorn into pieces and thrown into different parts of the world. To gather that book together [to articulate, to re-imagine history], you must be attentive. You must be observant, you must see with your inner eyes.”Here, we return to the dispersal, the truncated cartography, a damaged, disparate and multi-contextual world within which our proactive movement engender its healing and, in turn, the restitution of consciousness.  When Onikeku speaks of the “wholeness of consciousness”, he speaks of a possible culmination of the Fanonian human being – those whose struggles, grit, defiance are transformed into a celebration of the imagination rather than an indictment. In other words, “we are trying to remember the future and rewrite the past.Duration: 103 mins.Host: Emeka Okereke Guest: Qudus OnikekuProduction: Atelier E.K Okereke / E.O MultimediaPhotography: Kayode OluwaListen on: nkatapodcast.comAlso on: Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Overcast, Deezer and moreJoin our community of Patrons: Support the show
Ahmet Öğüt (b.1981, Diyarbakir, Turkey) is a conceptual artist living and working in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He works with a broad range of media including video, photography, installation, drawing and printed media (Wikipedia)In the 9th Episode of Nkata: Art & Processes, Emeka Okereke and Öğüt discuss the concepts and thought processes behind his work. Ogut is what one might call a peripatetic artist – an artist whose practise relies on constant displacement from one location to the other.  It also involves an interplay of myriad mediums and materials. Captured succinctly in the podcast is one of Öğüt’s ethos: artworks have afterlives; as such, they must not be isolated from their destiny. This reference to the animateness of art is further deduced from his belief that between art and life, there are no boundaries.  Although Öğüt had dreamt of becoming a renaissance painter, he ended up as a conceptual artist – a catch-all designation that does more to contain his ever-evolving and metamorphosing process than capture its entire scope. Weighed against his prolific artistic production, it comes as unconventional that he has no studio. His works begin from a concept and make their way across detours of unpredictability, ending up in exchanges and negotiations involving collaborators and host institutions. You will appreciate his insight and detailed expounding of the importance of negotiation. As if that, in itself, is an act as much as an art. He is an intervener, and he allows himself to entertain the myriad forms and turns which the term “artistic intervention” could take. As such, his work is replete with metaphors, satires, sarcasm and paradoxes, all intersecting as if to suggest crossroads in subversive cartography. Yet, it is not always about objects. On the contrary, Öğüt begins the conversation by underscoring the fact that much of his work is inspired and materialised through encounters and collaborations. It is no wonder that, counted amongst his artistic outcomes, is The Silent University, which he passionately discussed in the podcast. When asked by Okereke about what informs his displacement and way-of-being in the world, Öğüt responded with a recollection of a saying by an Armenian journalist: “Water always finds its crack”. The podcast conversation takes on the nature of water looking for its cracks as it meanders from Öğüt’s earlier days as an art student in Ankara and Istanbul to Amsterdam and Berlin –  two cities contending for attention whenever he is asked the habitual question: where are you based?Support the show
Niq Mhlongo (b. 1973, Soweto) is a South African writer born in Johannesburg. Today, he is considered "one of the most high-spirited, irreverent voices of post-apartheid South African literary scene".So far, he has four novels  and two short stories to his name:  Dog Eat Dog (2004), After Tears (2007), Way Back Home (2013),  Affluenza (2016), Soweto Under The Apricot Tree (2018), Paradise in Gaza (2020). He has also edited two collection of Essays: Black Tax, A Burden or Ubuntu (2019) and Joburg Noir (2020). In between his already illustrious and prolific practice, he is also the city editor for the Johannesburg Review of Books, while still finding time to mentor, young writers both in South Africa and beyond through workshops and lecture programs. What is most striking about his work is that while it retains all the attributes of a powerful literary work – articulation, poetry, constructive narrative; dealing with topical/relevant issues of the society, etc. – his works are also accessible. He writes for an audience much broader than the literate class which comprised of the middle class and upwards. All of this, and more, are expounded in this long-form podcast conversation with host Emeka Okereke. To understand Niq's creative language and disposition is to return over and over to the streets of Soweto from where his highly tactile and experiential journey towards becoming his kind of writer began. Soweto Jive, a groovy number by Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse, sets the mood for the nearly two-hours long conversation.Niq's knack for anecdotes and personal stories leads the way all through. He makes a point to emphasize that, thanks to his eidetic memory, he can easily recall incidents which eventually feeds and informs his writings. In the conversation, he goes down memory lane while weaving pieces of incidents together to give the listener a sense of how his work – like many artists of his generation – sits at the transitory space between a past of pain and the present of hope where the Black South African can look at the horizon and conjure the possibility of "a future tense", as Shoshana Zuboff puts it. Towards the end of the conversation, he speaks extensively about Black Tax: A Burden or Ubuntu?, an anthology of essays by Twenty-six South African authors, also edited by Niq. This timely assemblage of voices attempts to ignite discussions around the meaning and place of responsibility as attributed to familial ties in the black South African reality. This book is Niq's first-ever collaborative project. According to him, it was a subject bigger than him, and thus requires the strength of numerous voices.If you know Niq Mhlongo's work, this conversation will offer a more expansive, informative, yet entertaining frame for better appraisal. Those encountering him for the first time will find that he continues in the tradition of many African artists whose encounter with art was underlined by remarkable coincidences which, in hindsight, could only be understood as a calling. Support the show
Shahidul Alam (b.1955) is a Bangladeshi photojournalist, teacher and social activist. He has been a photographer for more than 40 years. His life and work can invariably be summarised as a service to society, culture and humanity.  In 2014, he was awarded the Shilpakala Padak by the President of Bangladesh. In 2018 he received the Humanitarian Award from Lucie Awards. In the same year, he was named one of the  Times Persons of The Year by Time Magazine. Alam founded the Drik Picture Library in 1989, the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhaka in 1998, “which has trained hundreds of photographers”,  and the Chobi Mela International Photography Festival in 1999. These platforms have been steadfastly sustained throughout these years. As such, they have become, in Alam’s words, the units straddling the three prongs – education, media, and culture – through which they have been able to exact pressure on the political sphere, therefore, instigating tangible change in the Bangladeshi reality through photography. In August 2018, Shahidul Alam was arrested and detained shortly after giving an interview on Al Jazeera during which he criticised the government's violent response to the 2018 Bangladesh road safety protests. There was a global call for his release led by many International humanitarian organisations, news media and notable personalities. In the 7th Episode of Nkata Podcast: Art & Processes, Emeka Okereke visited Alam in his home in Dhanmondi, Dhaka in Bangladesh – same apartment from which he was arrested. They had an extensive conversation about his life and work starting from his childhood to his parents, family and dedication to social justice in Bangladesh. He also touched on his special relationship with his partner – his best friend and his fiercest critic – Rahnuma Ahmed, who is a journalist in her own right. Shahidul owes much of his continued belief in his cause;  its strategic carefulness of self-care as a form of protest (as inferred by Audre Lourde) to Rahnuma. He made a point to note that the name “Rahnuma”  is Persian for “the one who shows you the way”. Listen to the full episode on nkatapodcast.comAlso available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Tune In and more. Subscribe on your preferred platform of listening to get notifications on subsequent episodes.There are timestamps to help the listener navigate different parts of the podcast. Support the show
One cannot exhaustively and informatively review the history of contemporary Nigerian photography without frequently returning to the name Uche James Iroha (B.1972, Enugu). Since 1999, Uche’s ideology, activities and support for younger photographers, have paved the way for the flourishing of Nigerian photography in no small measure.Yet the temperament, attitude and principles he brought to photography preceded him. Before Uche was another hero of Nigerian art: Chief James Iroha, his late father. He was popularly known as the creator of one of the longest-running sitcoms in the history of Nigeria, The New Masquerade. Created to help bring some solace and comic relief to the survivors of the Nigeria-Biafra war, the sitcom would outdo itself to become a foundational source of societal consciousnesses for many of those born in the 80s – the first batch of millennials who came of age at the turn of the 21st century. Thus it is no surprise that when Uche encountered photography in the late 90s, he could not but regard it as a potent tool for social commentary.In this conversation with Emeka Okereke, Uche James Iroha – in his usual manner of illustrating lofty concepts with correlated anecdotes – expands on his life, his convictions, motivations, and naturally, how photography acts as a conduit. Given that the conversation took place in Bamako, in 2019, during the 12th Bamako photography encounters, he recalls the indelible impact the photography festival had on him and his colleagues when, at the invitation of Akinbode Akinbiyi, they participated in the 2nd edition in 2001. The 2001 Bamako outing eventually led to the founding of one of the foremost photography collectives in Africa, Depth Of Field. This podcast gives an up-close glimpse of a visual artist, thinker and activist who stands, however unobtrusively, at the hinge of history and continues to work for it. It is an ode to one of his catchiest lines: “history is not absent-minded”. This Episode is backed by Goethe Institut Munich. Want to support the podcast program? Check out our Patreon page at Support the show
Nontsikelelo Veleko (b. 1977) is a South African photographer most notably recognised for her depiction of black identity, urbanisation and fashion in post-apartheid South Africa. Veleko studied photography at the Market Theatre Photo Workshop(1999–2004).In 2006, her photographs were part of the group exhibition, Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography, at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York; curated by Okwui Enwezor. There, the bold and lively portraits depicting South Africa street style from her series “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder” attracted a great deal of attention, shifting previous perceptions of Africa as a whole on an international scale. Alongside this, Veleko has also implemented clothing ‘to deliberately challenge assumptions of identity based on appearances and historical background’. Veleko’s work presents a strong statement of a younger generation that is loud, self-expressive and daring; a collection of youth she strongly relates to. Such sentiments are evident in the photographs resulting from what she considers to be a ‘collaborative process’. For the 5th episode of Nkata, Emeka Okereke travelled to meet with Veleko in Nîmes, in the South of France, where she is currently based. Their conversation starts with the recollection of some precursory events foundational to her journey as an artist. She speaks of how her father prepared her mind from an earlier age, and by that gave her a sense of independence so rare for young girls/women at the time. How photographing graffiti on the streets of Johannesburg in the early 2000s; going to Switzerland for her first-ever residency program inspired her to turn towards street/urban fashion as would later be seen in her one of her most prominent bodies of work.She illustrates her response to the stimuli of street imagery in a succinct recount of a certain photograph she made: A graffiti on the streets of Johannesburg reads “I am not afraid”. However, the “A” of the “Afraid” was cracked. I found that interesting. Because I thought to myself: that’s how I am, a woman, with a camera, alone, photographing on the street of Johannesburg. I affirm that I am not afraid, yet there is a crack somewhere: I am afraid.The conversation settles on her arrival in France, and subsequently Nîmes, a small but ancient city in the South of France. How with her presence, and in collaboration with good friends and colleagues, she has begun the work of opening the small town to African photography starting with her home country South Africa. She takes Emeka Okereke through the streets of Nimes while discussing new bodies of work, projects and prospects stemming from reinvigorated energy after a long career pause. Support the show
Otobong Nkanga (b. 1974, Kano, Nigeria) is a visual and performance artist whose artistic practice spans almost two decades. She began her studies at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria and continued at the National Fine Arts School of Paris. She obtained a Masters degree in performing arts from DasArts, Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 2008. Ever since she has exhibited and published her work in various platforms and institutions numerous to expound here. Otobong’s drawings, sculptures, photographs and how they become integral to a performative constellation examines the value of natural resources as well as the mechanisms, impulses, gradations of power structures that constitute their flows. In an interview reproduced in her book, Lustre and Lucre, she summarised some polarising associations explored in her work when she said: “What we are making in one space empties another”. Yet, her work and its myriad contours draw from a deeply personal place. Her poems, for instance, are a tacit testament to this. The various mediums she works with are held together in a manner that could be likened to the circulatory system of a body: there are independently moving parts yet there are joints that allow for malleability, elasticity, stretching and bending; bouncing back to the original form. In her performances and videos, she uses her body as the protagonist. However, according to her, her presence is merely an invisible hand that sets the process in motion. It is yet another instance of the intricate interplay between the visible and invisible in her work. In her conversation with Emeka Okereke for the 4th episode of NKATA, she begins with a poem – Diaoptasia – Our Future Will Be – that would serve as a running thread for the almost two-hour-long conversation. She talks about resistance, of malleability, beginning from her mother giving birth to her. She reminisced about events and moments that shaped her life during its earlier stages, mainly in Nigeria. Central to this is the role her parents played; more so with the events of their untimely deaths. Her mother, for instance, she would say, liberated her way of thinking at the age of 15 when she told her that “everything is art. It is not for anyone to decide what art is”. Her mother also said to her: “I’ve dreamt of you in colours”. Towards the end, she brings the conversation around to the notion of visibility and how inherent in that, there ought to be a place for opacity. “[Something] needs to be working, doing something that allows for regeneration, repair... there needs to be a time for fake dormancy”. There are timestamps in the podcast to help the listener navigate parts of the conversation. If you enjoyed the conversation, pay it forward by sharing it with those in your network. Support the show
For our third episode, Emeka Okereke is in conversation with Jihan El-Tahri, an Egyptian filmmaker, producer, and visual artist.Jihan El-Tahri began her career as a foreign correspondent covering Middle East politics for the Financial Times, Washington Post, and US News & World Reports. El-Tahri has since produced and directed several monumental documentaries, including the trilogy Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs (2016); The House of Saud (2004); Cuba, The African Odyssey (2006), and Behind the Rainbow (2008). In this podcast, she reflects on events and moments that remarkably shaped her and made her the kind of filmmaker and artist she would eventually become. She elaborated on the fundamental elements that drive her political and creative will. If you do not know Jihan El-Tahri, or perhaps only know her through her work, here is a chance to get a sense of the multifaceted layers that are composites of her powerful, fascinating persona. What do we do with the responsibility that comes with privilege? How do we offer a different narrative? What is the place and importance of archives in the weaving of narratives/histories especially within the process/research of film making and visual arts? How does one stay true to oneself? How does one deal with the stereotypic construct of motherhood where it has to do with being an artist at the same time? These are some of the questions reflected upon. The conversation comes full circle with a quote  (read out by Jihan) by Olu Oguibe, excerpted from his 2004 essay “Exile And Creative Imagination”. Duration: 135 mins. *Timestamps:0:00 mins: Upbringing, returning to Egypt. Role of Family – father, sisters, mother. Childhood Experiences30:00: Place/importance of oral history. Working as a journalist from the 80s. Covering the Middle East and the Gulf War. Cairo as a hub for vibrant revolutionary Africans in the 80s and 90s. Beginning of her Pan African Consciousness. Moment of disillusionment and disenchantment with journalism. Transitioning to film making. 56:30: Film making, process and working with archives, the art of interviewing and accessing important information from the interviewee. The complexness/predominant narratives of the archive. 87:01: Doing the leg work of piecing together our histories through research and archive. What happened to the dignity we were chasing? What happened to the Dream? The transition from filmmaking to visual art. 95:00: Mentoring and helping young Africans to find their voices. Audience: Who do you make your films for?110:00: Staying true to oneself. The Africa Burden. CNN’s publication on “Best of African Photography” as an example of a status quo and oppressive system that urgently needs to be countered by alternative narratives. Privilege and abuse of power. Privilege as responsibility and how to use it. 124:00: Create an alternative system that would make the old, oppressive one obsolete. 126:00: Being a mother who is also a professional. Relationship with daughters134:00: Conclusion. Quote from Olu Oguibe excerpted from “Exile and Creative Imagination”. *Timestamps are only vague estimates that serve as a rough guideline. Support the show
Episode two of NKATA sees Emeka Okereke in conversation with Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. Ndikung (b.1977, Yaoundé) is an independent curator, art critic, author and biotechnologist from Cameroon, who lives and works from out of Berlin. He studied food biotechnology in Berlin, received his doctorate in medical biotechnology and studied biophysics in Montpellier. Ndikung is the artistic director and chief curator of the art space SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin, which he founded in 2009.In this podcast, he speaks about his early years, touching significantly on the events that underlined his move from Cameroon, and subsequently, his travails of living and being a student in Germany in the early 2000s. He gave a glimpse of who his parents are (with particular emphasis on his mother). He goes on to elaborate on his encounter with art and how this lead to the founding of Savvy Contemporary Berlin — a laboratory of Form–Ideas. He breaks down the fundamental concepts and activities at the core of Savvy as well as how far things have come since it was founded in 2009. Throughout the conversation, he makes a strong case for what art and curating means to him as a ”thinking being” moving through the world. The podcast is (loosely) divided into two parts: the first was recorded in a train — during a journey from Berlin to Munich (hence the ambiance of the recording). The second, building on the Berlin-Munich journey and framed by the untimely passing of two giants of contemporary art/fellow curators — Bisi Silva and Okwui Enwezor, was recorded indoors. This part brings him full circle as he talks about the significance of Silva and Enwezor’s death as ”an incredible recalibration” of what life here on earth means for him. This podcast is 111 mins long. Below are time stamps, should you want to skip or navigate to parts of it in your own preferred order. Part 1 (inside the train)03:00: Bonaventure speaks of the early years. His parents. Moving from Cameroon to Germany. Living and being a student in Germany. Finishing a PhD in biotechnology. Early encounter with art and working his way towards becoming a curator. 32:00: Inspiration behind the founding of Savvy Contemporary Berlin and key people behind its foundation. Savvy after 10 years (2009 – 2019). Some core concepts behind Savvy. Savvy as a proactive/subversive platform. Savvy as a space in Berlin: who is your audience? Part 2 (in the studio)67:50: The legacies of Bisi Silva and Okwui Enwezor. The place of their work in the unfolding of history. Their work as paying into a “Trust fund” (for the larger community/society).84:43: Discussing generational continuity: there are people who do the tilling of the soil, while there are those who plant in them. The notion of the institution (institution of the family (nepotism) versus the institution of the community). The place and importance of archive/archiving in the linking of histories. The economy of discovery and the “Christopher Columbus complex”.  The book as Archive. Archive as Process. Reimagining the archive (the apoptotic archive). 101:43: Streams of Consciousness: Being the Artistic Director of the (upcoming) 12th edition of the Bamako Photography Festival. Expounding on the point of departures of the festival’s main concept/theme. Support the show
In this debut episode of NKATA, Emeka Okereke is in conversation with Akinbode Akinbiyi. Akinbiyi (b.1946) is a Berlin-based Nigerian photographer, writer, curator and educator who has been working in the art world/ creative field for over four decades. This conversation touches on several aspects of his life and practice beginning with moments and events that led to and spurred his vocation as an artist. Some noteworthy anchors of the conversation include: the photographer as a wanderer; movement: being grounded while moving;  the act of “listening in”; the inner voice/inner eyes; photography and writing; analog photography in relation to digital; photography as a tool for the expansion of perspectives, but also for ordering and othering; the artist as activist; spirituality: beyond the material world; archiving, posterity, legacy; art and photography as life’s journey; “the young shall grow”: the future and the next generation. This conversation is a canvas upon which various layers of Akinbiyi’s valuable insights, wisdom and sensitivity, accrued over the years, are – true to his nature – unobtrusively stretched out. Are you curious as to who Akinbode Akinbiyi is? Are you an artist filled with unanswered questions about how to cope or stay true to your creative process? What about those who simply want to get a glimpse of how the artist, through personal experiences, weaves logic together by which he remains ever dedicated to his passion, profession, and vocation? This episode of NKATA is for you. Enjoy it! Support the show
In this intro episode, Emeka Okereke – the host of the program – introduces himself as well as the podcast series. He gave some pointers as to what the podcast program will be all about. Watch out for episode 1Support the show
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This is brilliant. Subscribed and waiting for the podcasts!

Feb 25th
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