lagos photo art and fashion fair


illustration by karo akpokiere

i've really been enjoying my little time in lagos. i spent way more money than i should have at the art and fashion fair at the civic centre on victoria island. the event, sponsored by the african artists foundation, showcased the best of local artists and artisans, and was all about reclaiming the african gaze and public spaces. i bought a lot of handcrafted jewelry, my all time weakness after sweets (there was a cupcake stand too, baked by cupyd patisserie, that i somehow managed to stay away from).

in many ways, lagos is like new york--or london, i suppose, except for those damned power outages--teeming with talented entrepreneurs, illustrators, fashion designers, photographers, and everything under the sun. it seemed like most folks were trained abroad in the u.s. or the u.k., and brought a worldly, cosmopolitan edge to their work. i almost felt bashful buying a pair of beaded, moroccan bracelets wearing my "ethnic" and "natural" dreadlocks. at least there were a few other patrons with locs, too, so i didn't feel quite as conspicuous as i usually do.

if i were you, i would keep my eye out for the lagos photo exhibit, also sponsored by the aaf. it's been commemmorated in a magazine with a feature story by, you guessed it, chimamanda ngozi adichie (maybe i should just start calling her "chichi" on here, since she's so ubiquitous?). i wish i bought the (very pricey) mag to quote her here, but she wrote beautifully about how photos reveal the truth, as in writing and film.

i really should take more pictures. i can be so shy about intruding on private spaces with a lens. c'est la vie. --AL.

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