We interview Mohammed Ibrahim Mahama on his work that will be exhibiting at Lagos Photo Festival 2016.
In 2010 Lagos Photo Festival launched as the first and only international photography festival in Nigeria, Africa’s booming economic centre. Over the course of a month the festival creates a platform for exhibition and discussion of the African design.
The sixth edition of Lagos Photo Festival Designing Futures, welcomes 22 international artists exploring identity, ecology and culture. The sixth edition of the annual LagosPhoto Festival begins on October 22 – November 21, 2016 entitled Rituals and Performance: Inherent Risk, we interview each of the photographers to gain some understanding of their inspirations behind their works.
What does art mean to you?
Art means a lot more to me than just making objects/exhibiting. It has always been about exercising freedom through various engagements and encounters. The responsibility of reimagining aesthetics through the form of everyday ordinary objects and repositioning them is important to me. I see myself more as a contributor negotiating with the prevailing production systems through specific objects. These objects contain languages that have developed over time due to the conditions they find themselves in and spaces that have contained them/spaces they contain. I am interested in how these spaces contradict/dialogue with other spaces within the city, with architectures of crisis as a starting point. Crisis becomes a medium to work with and part of the decision-making within the practice.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere, both within artistic practice and daily events. There is so much creativity within the city as a result of the prevailing conditions both within economic and political contexts. I am interested in these systems with regards to the contradictions they present while thinking of ways to re-contextualize them.
Since you exposed your art to the work, what has been the most memorable moment?
I don’t really have any memorable moments. I am constantly rethinking my modes of presentation. It’s a constant reflection on ideas, forms and aesthetics. Within my independent practice, I learn a lot from the decisions I make during each project and allow room for constant renegotiation.
How do you feel your culture and your environment influence your work?
The environment (the city) is responsible for the nature of the work both within its presentation, production and development formally. Maps are very crucial to the imagination/reading within the work. My collaborators are actors within the form/politics of the work. Both their conditions and experiences contribute significantly to the aesthetics of each project, as do the characters of the objects used.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I am interested in all forms of work, and mostly those outside the system of art. My interest is much more in characters who negotiate systems of production while exercising a certain amount of freedom.
What do you do when you are not working?
Since I started showing my work publicly, I really haven’t had any break. A lot goes into creating these simple forms so it requires time to make and navigate. Most of my time is spent negotiating with characters within the state.
Do you have any other exhibitions coming up this year?
I am currently working on an independent project and research as part of my PhD.
What else are you working on right now?
I am currently working on research which will lead to an exhibition at the White Cube Gallery in London 2017.