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Hansi Momodu-Gordon, Antawan I. Byrd, and Tosin Oshinowo. Photo: Lagos Biennial.
Hansi Momodu-Gordon, Antawan I. Byrd, and Tosin Oshinowo. Photo: Lagos Biennial.

Lagos Biennial Names Curators for Second Edition

The Àkéte Art Foundation has announced the curatorial team for the second edition of the Lagos Biennial: Antawan I. Byrd, Hansi Momodu-Gordon, and Tosin Oshinowo. Titled “How to Build a Lagoon with Just a Bottle of Wine?,” the exhibition will focus on the present makeup of the city’s built environment.

With an estimated 21 million inhabitants, Lagos is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is the most populous in Africa. In recent decades, it has greatly expanded through large-scale land reclamation initiatives, major development projects, new transportation infrastructures, and sprawling housing settlements. Participating artists will be invited to address this rapid change, which has raised questions about the impact of urbanization, the role of information systems, the sustainability of natural resources, and socioeconomic equality, among other issues.

“I’m excited that the three curators have decided to focus on the intersections of art, architecture, and urbanism for the 2019 edition,” Folakunle Oshun, the biennial’s founding director, said in a statement. “Through this focus, the second edition of the biennial is poised to engage pertinent socioeconomic and political issues stemming from the astonishing shifts in the city’s spatial elaboration over the past two decades. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they develop.”

Byrd, an assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, is a Ph.D. candidate in modern and contemporary art history at Northwestern University. He was cocurator of “Kader Attia: Reflecting Memory” (2017) at Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art; associate curator of “Telling Time” (2015), the tenth Bamako Encounters Biennale of African Photography; and cocurator of “[Re]Générations: Une exploration des archives des Rencontres de Bamako” (2015), which received the 2017 Award for Curatorial Excellence from the Arts Council of the African Studies Association.

Momodu-Gordon, an independent curator based in London, is the founder of Future Assembly, a platform for artists’ development and experimentation. She previously served as assistant curator at Tate Modern from 2011 to 2015 and has held curatorial positions at Turner Contemporary and the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos. Her writing on contemporary art has been published by the Fowler Museum at the University of California Los Angeles; Tate; the Walther Collection; Aperture; Contemporary And; and Frieze.

Currently based in Lagos, Oshinowo has been a lead architect at cmDesign Atelier (cmD+A) since 2012. The architecture, design, and consultancy practice is best known for Nigeria’s retail center the Maryland Mall, which opened in June 2016. Oshinowo also writes a column for Omenka Online titled “The Afromodernst: Identity, Architecture & Sexuality,” which explores cultural issues and African identity in a modern context.

The three curators were formally introduced to the Lagosian public on Saturday, November 3, 2018, during a kick-off event at the Omenka Gallery in Ikoyi, Lagos, that was attended by members of the city’s arts community. More details about the exhibition, which will take place from October 26 to November 30, 2019, will be announced in the coming months.