Photograph — Emmanuel Iduma

For eight years, the Invisible Borders Trans-African organization has successfully organised road trip projects that have served as a form of Trans-African exchange across countries in Africa through various artistic interventions. The projects have seen participating artists travel within Nigeria and beyond to other parts of Africa.

This year, artists participating in the 8th edition of the road trip project will embark on a journey across countries, towns, villages, and Trans-African highways between Lagos, Nigeria and Maputo, Mozambique within a period of 95 days, from August 20 to November 23, 2018.

As has been the methodology throughout previous editions of the Invisible Borders Trans-African Road Trips, participants will employ themselves as active-thinking bodies, in the negotiation of borders as much as in the re-imagination of histories embodied by this trajectory.

The core of this road trip project will be to reimagine what we know of a place from a distance (distance created both by historical and geographical remoteness) through what we encounter by being present.

Much has been said (and is still said) about the optimism of Africa’s future. However, the Trans-African Road Trip project is premised on the view that there is no foresight without a hindsight. – Invisible Borders

Through every day tangible encounters with stories, events, and happenstances indicative of lives both on the road and at border intersections, the artists absorb experiences that are further processed and articulated through their respective medium of expression and shared on the go, both directly with those encountered and virtually, through a dedicated website blog.

The Lagos – Maputo road trip is a proposal to enter the interstices of a volatile negotiation between the past and present, and to intersect with lives and everyday stories caught in between forces pushing and pulling to shift or reset imposed cartographies.

Per usual, participants will be mainly photographers, writers, historians and filmmakers, selected from different countries of the African continent and African Diaspora. The trip will be in two stages and therefore two batches of participants. The first batch of participants will journey from Lagos to Kampala, from August 20 – October 9. While the second batch will conclude the trip from Kampala to Maputo from October 6 – November 23.

There will be five artists and two administrators (a project manager and a driver) for each batch. Altogether, there will be 9 artists and three administrators who will travel across borders in different stages between Lagos and Maputo. In addition, there will be one guest participant-artist from each of the countries to be traversed. The guest artist will only travel and work with the rest of the participants within his or her own country.

Key features of the project

  • The artists will travel from Lagos to Maputo on routes cutting through Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
  • The duration of the road trip is 95 days, August 20 – November 23, 2018.
  • The trip is divided into two stages and therefore two groups of participants: Group A will journey from Lagos to Kampala. Group B will complete the journey from Lagos to Maputo.
  • Altogether there will be 21 participants: three administrators, nine Trans-border participants and nine guest participants.
  • Participants will include photographers, writers, filmmakers, historians, architects, dancers, performance artists, and graffiti artists selected through an open call from Africa and the Diaspora.
  • Participants will travel together in one vehicle, all the while, living, working and interacting with each other. The vehicle-space will be equipped to also function as a moving studio for discussions and review of works created while on the road.
  • Participants are expected to develop concrete bodies of work in form of photography, essays, short/feature length films, documented performances and site-specific interventions.
  • Works created by the artists are expected to be personal reflections of direct encounters with locals, indigenes, residents and key actors of contemporary events in places visited. How does this converse, first, with the experience of the artist, and second, the known history of a given place?
  • The process of encounters and work done on the road trip will be shared online on the go and on a daily basis via a dedicated multilingual blog-app of four languages: English, French, Portuguese and Swahili.
  • A book articulating the photographic works as well as essays shall be published at the end of the project in conjunction with a feature-length documentary film.

Apply for the Trans-African road trip HERE.

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