Andrew Eseibo shows Alter Gogo at 11th Havana Biennial in Cuba

Posted: May 17, 2012 in arts/culture

One of Nigeria’s top contemporary photographers, Andrew Eseibo, will feature as one of the major attractions as his current collection of photographic works titled; Alter Gogo, shows at the forthcoming 11th Havana Biennial.

Scheduled to hold from between May 11 through to June 20, in Havana, the Cuban capital city, the collection Alter Gogo, is a diptych portrait series featuring grandmothers who play football with the Gogo Getters Football Club in Orange Farm, a large township in South Africa.

According to Eseibo, the characters featuring in the works believe ‘playing the football has become a passport to a better life, giving the women social relevance in their community, as well as better health. Playing football is their solution to many social and physiological problems like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and alcohol addiction.’

Alter Gogo also offers an alternative image of African women. Quite often in the mainstream imagination, African women are located in the sphere of “tradition”.

“They are presented – if at all – as victims of oppression, who have been forced to submit to tribal customs, with no authority, freedom or conception of self. Women with sad faces often complement the ever-pervasive images of Africa as a continent of famine, poverty and violence. Alter Gogo challenges all of these stereotypes as well the role attributed to women in their old age.

“The grandmothers’ regalia, their proud postures on the soccer field along with the charm of their intimate spaces and loves create a powerful socio-cultural scenario in which soccer is the means and expression of a new gender and generation identity.”

Andrew Esiebo started out in photography by chronicling the rapid development of urban Nigeria as well as the country’s rich culture and heritage.

As his work began to gain international recognition, Andrew started to explore new creative territory, integrating multimedia practice with the investigation of themes such as sexuality, gender politics, football, popular culture and migration.

In 2010, he was selected for the Road to Twenty Ten project to form an All-Africa Dream Team of 16 journalists / Photographers to provide alternative stories from the World Cup in South Africa. His work has been exhibited at the Havana and Sao Paulo biennials, the Guangzhou Triennial in Beijing, the Chobi Mela V Photo Festival in Bangladesh, the Noorderlitch Photo Festival in The Netherlands, African Photography Encounters in Mali and the Lagos Photo Festival among others.

His works have been published in books, magazine and websites such as, Marie Claire Italia, Time Out Nigeria, Mail & Guardian online, Laia Books, Geo-Lino, KIT and African style magazine Arise.

Eseibo has also completed a number of artistic residencies including a five-month stay in Paris under Cultures France’s Visa Pour Creation, a three-month residency at the Gasworks in London as part of the Africa Beyond programme and a three-month residency at the Gyeonggi Creation Center in South Korea from December 2011.

He is the initiator and co-organizer of My Eye, My World, a participatory photography workshop for socially-excluded children in Nigeria.

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