Berlin

Akinbode Akinbiyi, Lagos Island, Lagos, 2004, ink-jet print, 23 5⁄8 × 23 5⁄8".

Akinbode Akinbiyi, Lagos Island, Lagos, 2004, ink-jet print, 23 5⁄8 × 23 5⁄8".

Akinbode Akinbiyi

Gropius Bau

It would be easy to peg Akinbode Akinbiyi as a street photographer in the classic mold. Though the label is to some degree apt, the astringent lyricism of the artist’s images is more than just a product of his evident immersion in the scenes where they are produced, whether these are in African cultural capitals such as Bamako, Johannesburg, or Lagos, or in Berlin, where he has been based since the 1970s. As he once explained to fellow photographer Rahima Gambo, “It is not the environment that determines the approach, but rather how you stand in relation to yourself and what you want to say, to see, to create.” Instead of primarily serving as a documentarian, he is above all—as suggested by the subtitle of his recent exhibition, “Six Songs, Swirling Gracefully in the Taut Air”—a bard of daily life, catching and amplifying the unseen vibrations of things. Through Akinbiyi’s lens, diverse

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